Ralph E. Peterson

BEAVER GROVE, MI- Ralph E. Peterson, 84, of Beaver Grove, entered eternal life Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at the Tendercare Health Center in Munising, in the loving and comforting care of his family.

Born March 16, 1930 in Munising, a son of Julius Edwin and Esther Lennea (Johnson) Peterson, Ralph grew up on the family farm in Eben where he learned and developed the lifelong values of a strong work ethic, reliability, and being trustworthy. He attended the area schools and later left the farm in 1951 to work for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company in their mines. In 1953, a young gal from Chicago named Donna Froberg came to visit a friend in Rumely. While there, the friend set up a blind date to meet Ralph. The date was an instant success, and Donna knew from that moment on she would marry him.

On September 4, 1954, the couple was married in Marquette, with Donna’s city friends wishing her “good luck to you and your farmer.” The couple made their first home in Chatham and it was quite a change for the city girl, but love conquers everything. For a time, Ralph was employed as a logger and roofer before they moved to Libertyville, Illinois, in 1962 where he worked for the railroad and on construction. In 1964, the couple relocated to Marquette so he would be closer to his job at the mines. In 1967, they built a home in Beaver Grove and in 1991, Ralph retired after 37 years with the mining industry. Throughout his life, Ralph loved the outdoors and all that nature had to offer, from deer hunting, fishing, camping, and his special passion for chopping wood whenever possible. Travel was another pastime Ralph and Donna enjoyed. They traveled to Texas to visit their daughter, took two cruises, one to the Caribbean and another to Alaska, and for many summers took the camper to Eben so Ralph could spend time there.

He possessed a dry sense of humor which many enjoyed and was a great storyteller concerning the good old days. People enjoyed listening to his take on life and he often entertained doing goofy and fun stuff with friends and especially his grandchildren. Ralph was kind and generous with his time and he will be remembered also for the numerous hugs he gave to people. Even during his past few months in the nursing home, he gave hugs and helped wheelchair patients navigate the halls. Ralph was a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Harvey.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 59 years, Donna; daughters, Sherry O’Connor of Oconto, WI, Corrine (David) Heidtman of Beaver Grove, and Wendee Peterson-Clark of Austin, TX; a son, Jerry (Marie Anderson) Peterson of Harvey; his 9 grandchildren, David (Michelle) Heidtman, Jr, Kristi (Wayne) Pryhorocki, Nicholas (Christine) Heidtman, Eric (Nicole) Heidtman, Ryan Heidtman, Paige Clark, Nathan (Nicole) O’Connor, Paula (Andrew) Bake, and Joshua O’Connor; 13 great-grandchildren; his siblings, Robert (Nancy) Peterson of Eben, Betty Violetta of New Swanzy, and Karen (Wayne) Bostwick of Oconto, WI; sisters-in-law, Janice Peterson of Green Bay, WI and Linda Peterson of Chatham; brother-in-law, Dennis Hautamaki of Eben; numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents,

Ralph was preceded in death by a son, Jim Peterson on October 6, 1972; an infant brother, Kenny Peterson; a sister, Barbara Hautamaki; and brothers, Donald and Clayton Peterson.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Harvey on Saturday, July 5, from 12:00 noon until the time of the memorial service at 1:00 pm Saturday afternoon. Rev. James Duehring, pastor, will officiate. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Burial will be made in the Prince of Peace Memorial Garden.

The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff of Tendercare Health Center for the compassionate care given to Ralph during his 5 1/2 month stay with them and for the many kindnesses extended to the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 S. Front Street, Suite 233, Marquette, MI 49855.

The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at www.swansonlundquistfuneralhome.com.