Peter Petersen Sr., 83, of Hilo, passed away last Wednesday, January 29, 2014. He was born and raised in Bronx, NY on January 24, 1931. His parents Else Theisen and Peter Rasmus Petersen were both from Norway. He had 2 sisters, Nella Strand and Bertha Pedersen and one brother, Theodor H. Petersen.
In 1949 he joined the Air Force, served 4 years, and then joined the Navy in 1954. In June 1964 he was promoted to Radioman Chief (Chief Petty Officer). In 1970, after 20 years, he retired and moved our family to Baguio City, Philippines where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration from St. Louis University.
In 1975, he joined the Military Sealift Command. In 1982, he became the first civilian Supply Officer in Military Sealift Command's history. His first assignment as Supply Officer was on the USNS Spica. He did such a good job that an article was written about him in the Stars and Stripes newspaper. He retired in 1999 after 25 years.
During his 45 year career, he was awarded numerous medals and commendations too many to list. Most were earned during the Vietnam War and during the 1st Gulf War as Supply Officer of the USNS Mercy hospital ship. In the Navy he worked on 5 Aircraft Carriers: USS (Bon Homme Richard, Ticonderoga, Oriskany, Kitty Hawk, and Constellation). In the Military Sealift Command he worked on 12 ships: USS Wichita, USNS (Rigel, Norwalk, Navasota, Mispillion, Spica, Navasota, Mercy, Pecos, Tippecanoe, John Ericsson, and Yukon).
He was preceded in death by wife, Rufina Doronila (July 2006) and daughter, Karen Marasigan (December 2011). He is survived by sons, Jason (Anna) Petersen of Alaska and Peter Petersen Jr. of Hilo; daughters, Susan (Andy) Encabo of Alaska, Joana Petersen of the Philippines and Cathlene (James) Reinold of Alaska; grandchildren, Jan Michael, Grace, Chris, Melanie, Shaun, Megan, Caitlyn, Sandie, Else, Kyle, Edgar, Shella, Gerald, Grace, and Edwin; niece, Else-Neimi Durnick; nephews, Peter Strand, Tor, Paul, Ralph, Harold and Steven Pedersen and 23 great-grandchildren.
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Feb. 20 to Feb. 21, 2014