Cover photo for Frederick Peterson's Obituary
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Frederick Peterson

March 24, 1942 — April 4, 2018

Frederick Peterson

Frederick "Fred" John Renius Peterson, 76, of Normal and Sister Bay, Wisconsin, died peacefully at home Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

His memorial service will be at St. John's Lutheran Church, 1617 East Emerson Street, Bloomington, IL, Tuesday, April 10, 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be 9:30-11:00 a.m.on Tuesday at the church. Pastor Lanny Westphal will officiate. Inurnment will be in the St John's Lutheran Church Columbarium.

Fred was born on March 24, 1942, in Minneapolis, Minnesota a son to Dr. Joel L.E. and Ruth Miriam (Renius) Peterson. He married Janet Carlson on July 22, 1967 in Lincolnwood, IL.

He is survived by Janet, his wife of 50 years; three children, Paul (Rebecca), Barrington, Illinois, Drew (Christina), Wilmette, Illinois, and Britt (Zack) Bartels, Springfield, MO; six grandsons, Luke, Jack, and Reid Peterson, Dylan Peterson, and Andrew and Ethan Bartels.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Orville; a sister, Miriam; and an infant daughter, Laina.

He graduated from Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, in 1960. He received a BA from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, in 1964; a MS Ed from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, in 1970; and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1979.

He was the Associate Director of Admissions, Augustana College, from 1964 to 1971; Dean of Student Services, Black Hawk College, Moline, Illinois, from 1979 to 1991; and Dean of Student Services, Heartland Community College, from 1991 to 2006.

Fred was a life long Lutheran, serving as president of Trinity Lutheran, Moline, and of St. John's Lutheran, Bloomington. In Rock Island, Fred served as president of Easter Seals Society of Rock Island County and as a member of the Rock Island school board for 8 years, coaching Little League baseball in between meetings. He was an avid fan of the White Sox, "da Bears," and the Blackhawks. He especially enjoyed his summers in Door County.

Music, humor, and friendships were important themes in Fred's life. In fact, Fred first met Jan leaving the first choir rehearsal of the 1963 fall semester at Augustana College. He proudly sang in the St John's Choir for 26 years. He loved telling fun stories and jokes wherever he was, including as a member of the local Scandinavian Cultural Group. He thoroughly enjoyed friendships and reunions, including those of his college fraternity and high school.

Fred put people first, and knowing that he had advantages that others did not, he advocated for the less fortunate all his life. One of his favorite sayings was from Elizabeth Gilbert: "In the end, though, maybe we must give up trying to pay back the people in the world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices." Fred's voice has fallen silent, but his spirit is still alive in the many who loved him, respected him, and were warmed by his generous friendship.

Memorials may be directed to the Dr. Fred Peterson Scholarship, Heartland Community College, Normal, IL; Augustana College, Rock Island, IL or St John's Lutheran Church, Bloomington, IL.


APR 10. 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM (CDT)

St. John's Lutheran Church
1617 E. Emerson
Bloomington, IL 61701

Memorial Service

APR 10. 11:00 AM (CDT)

St. John's Lutheran Church
1617 E. Emerson
Bloomington, IL 61701

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Frederick 'Fred' Peterson, please visit our floral store.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Frederick Peterson, please visit our flower store.

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