On Wednesday June 27, 2018, with his son Peter at his side, “Pete” Peterson of Neenah found his way to Heaven to be reunited with his best friend, forever-soulmate and the love of his life, his wife Elayne. The heartache and pain of missing her for over the last two years has finally subsided, and he is now at peace with her at his side once again. He was 80 years old.
Peter was born on September 12, 1937 at Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah to Phillip and Lorna Peterson. He was very proud of his Menasha roots, growing up on Nassau Street and attending St. Pat’s grade school. His family eventually moved to Third Street in Menasha, and he always joked about driving his car to St. Mary’s High School, only two blocks away.
It was at St. Mary’s that Pete excelled at football and baseball, being a part of the 1954 Zephyr State Championship baseball team. He always respected and spoke very highly of his coach in both sports, Ralph McClone, who helped Pete earn a baseball scholarship to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Pete was very proud of those years playing baseball and especially of all the very close and life-long relationships that were developed because of them. He was always a proud Zephyr and eventually was inducted into St. Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
While attending the University of Wyoming, Peter made the former Elayne Hooyman his bride on August 30, 1958. They enjoyed 58 years together until Elayne’s passing in February 2016. Together they raised their three children while at the same time Pete was busy coaching Little League and Babe Ruth baseball for many years. As busy as they were, their social calendar was always full.
Pete’s professional career was in sales, and he spent over 30 years travelling throughout the state for the ACME Machell Company out of Milwaukee. The relationships he developed over this time were a great treasure to him.
Some of Pete’s hobbies included woodworking, golfing, riding his “Johnny” (John Deere lawn tractor) and taking it easy in his favorite chair, “Big Brown”. Elayne was NOT a fan of that chair, and she made many unsuccessful attempts at putting it out on the curb. Many years prior to spending more than a little time in “that chair”, Pete worked tirelessly to build a small cottage on Wilson Lake near Wild Rose. The memories made there with family and friends were cherished forever, and were eventually expanded upon by their winter trips to Gulf Shores. They enjoyed reconnecting with their new friends there, sitting around the pool, solving the world’s problems, sharing made from scratch treats, celebrating a birthday or simply just relaxing.
Peter is survived by his three children, Lori (Tom) York of Colorado Springs, CO, Lisa (Kelly) Gavronski of Appleton and Peter of Buffalo, NY. He is further survived by five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a brother, Richard (Fran) Peterson, a sister-in-law, Janet Lodholz, and many nieces and nephews. He was also preceeded in death by his parents, mother and father in-law, Kenneth and Bertha Hooyman, brother-in-law, Eugene Hooyman and a nephew, Christopher Hooyman. A scholarship in Peter’s name has been established at St. Mary’s High School. Memorials may be sent to: In Care of Lisa Gravonski, 611 N. Morrison St, Appleton, WI 54911
A sincere Thank You to Heartland Hospice and Home Care Assistance, especially David, Laura, Molly, Katie and Shelly. Your kindness, compassion and respect toward Dad was truly appreciated. You are all angels. Dad always loved seeing your smiling faces.
We will celebrate Dad’s life Sunday, July 1, 2018 with a small, private family gathering. We will have a memorial service and luncheon at a later date.
“God is Good! We are happy that you are home again with mom. Rest in peace, dad. We love you!”