Rev. Dr. Donald Peterson

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 2:21 pm

Rev. Dr. Donald Peterson, 87, rural Battle Lake, Minn., died Thursday, June 1, 2016, at his home under the care of Lakeland Hospice. Funeral services were at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at Eagle Lake Lutheran Church, rural Battle Lake. Visitation was from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m., at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Battle Lake — and one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial was at Eagle Lake Lutheran Cemetery, rural Battle Lake. Glende-Nilson Funeral Home, Battle Lake, handled the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

Obituary written by Pastor Donald Peterson.

I was born to Frank and Abbie Peterson at 10:30 p.m. April 16, 1929, in the front bedroom of my great aunt Abbie in Byron, Minn. My brother Ronald George was born 16 months later and Carl William 30 months later. The family resided in Rochester, Minn. until my parents separated when I was four years old. I went to live with my grandmother Hannah and bachelor uncle Carl in Kasson, Minn. Ronald died of pneumonia/measles complication, and Carl and was placed in foster care in Kasson until my father was able to care for him. I went to elementary school in Kasson. Grandma Hannah died just before I was 12. In 1942 Uncle Carl and I moved with my father, his wife Marcella and my brother Carl to Rochester Minn. I graduated from Rochester Senior High School in June 1947. I went to St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. for my freshman year 1947-1948. I enlisted in the Air Force in Sept. 1948, and served as a control tower operator in Cold Bay, Ark. and at Tyndale AFB Panama City, Fla. I was honorably discharged in in Sept. 1952. I returned to St. Olaf in Jan. 1953 and graduated in 1956. I went to Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. and graduated in 1959. I received my Doctor of Ministry degree from Luther Seminary June 1, 1986. Grandma Hannah saw to it that I, and whenever possible, my brother Carl, went to Sunday school. Because of her influence, April 2, 1939, became the most important day in my life. At age 10, I — along with my brother, Carl — was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Kasson, Minn. I said yes to my baptism at my confirmation May 30, 1943, at Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn. On June 14, 1952 (it was 113 degrees in the shade), Esther Ruth Allen and I were united in marriage at Valley Creek Presbyterian Church, Selma, Ala. (the oldest Presbyterian Church in Alabama so there was no air conditioning). We have six wonderful children: Mary Evelyn (Tony Crimes), Donald Frank II, Kirsten Ruth Olson (Keith), Deborah Joetta Rasmussen (Chuck), Heidi Elaine Genereux (Mike) and Paul Allen Peterson (Dana). From this mix have come 20 grandkids and great-grandkids. Along with my faithful and ever-loving wife, I have served 25 congregations in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa.

I am grateful to God and the working of the Holy Spirit for being made aware of the Good News of the Gospel of Grace. It has made life worth celebrating. Because of the radical, absurd, astonishing grace of our Lord Jesus the Christ “I am still doing.”

I was preceded in death by my father, mother, brother, all four grandparents, Uncle Carl, an infant granddaughter and a two year-old great-grandson.
Esther and family would like to thank Lakeland Hospice and Dr. John Tate for their tender love and care.

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