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Robert A. Peters

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Peters, Robert A.
Jun. 12, 1924 - Jan. 13, 2014
Robert A. Peters, age 89, of Englewood Florida joined his Lord on January 13, 2014, passing peacefully.
Robert (Bob) was born June 12, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois to John and Minnie (Glosch) Peters (both deceased). He attended grade school at St. Paul Lutheran School in Lakewood, OH and completed high school at the Kentucky Military Institute in Lyndon, KY. He served with the 30th Infantry Division 117th Infantry in the European Theater during WWII and was discharged in 1945 with the rank of Captain. On June 26, 1946 he was married to Gloria Wilcheck (1922-2011). He was father to five children: Sara Jean Peters, Leonard Robert Peters, Gordon John Peters, Ardie Elayne Peters, and Lorraine Claire Straits. Following retirement, Gloria and Bob moved to Englewood, Florida to escape the Ohio winters he detested. In April, 2013 he married Jean Pasley of Ft. Lauderdale who survives him.
Bob graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics in 1948. He was employed by the Owens-Illinois company in Toledo, OH from 1948-1979, retiring as an assistant comptroller. Bob's life was one of quiet and humble service to God, family, and country. As a father, Bob did his best to honor and foster the diverse interests of his children. While supporting many of their initiatives, he didn't hesitate to speak bluntly if he thought their choices would put them in untenable positions.
Retirement and the move to the Englewood area returned him to an important part of his roots as he spent winters here as a KMI student in Venice. He contributed his memories in a recent PBS Special that featured the institution and was able to attend its premiere showing in Venice earlier this year. Retirement also provided additional opportunities to express his faith as a volunteer in several organizations. He and wife Gloria delivered Meals on Wheels for many years and he served as treasurer for the organization. He was also a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, working patrols and assisting stranded boaters. His meticulous nature served him well when planning extended outings to various ports for other members of the flotilla. Bob was active throughout his life and insisted on continuing his daily activities far past the point when most individuals would have retired to the couch. When he was no longer able to use the walk behind mower, he moved to a zero turn, which also served as transportation to the mailbox. Weeding was done on hands and knees and the "weed bucket" was his constant companion while doing yard work.
It is likely that much of his military service would have never been told had it not been for the efforts of Warren Watson, the son of another member of the 117th Infantry. Watson's quest for detailed information led to the retelling of Bob's service, most often in reconnaissance with his platoon. He spent much time in front of the front lines, scouting enemy positions and was known as "Fearless Fosdick" by his commander and men. Cast in a leadership role at the age of eighteen, he won the respect of seasoned veterans twice his age by following the precepts of command: the men eat first and the officer doesn't retire until he is certain all the men have been taken care of. Not one to boast or embellish, he was careful to report only what he was certain was fact and didn't hesitate to correct "history" where it had been rewritten and didn't match his experience as part of the action. His account of his experiences was prefaced by the comment: "I didn't think much about being killed. Maybe the "patriotic" instinct took over, and it was a case of whatever happened-happened." He credited the Lord's hand with saving his life on several instances. He was careful to consider risk before taking any action. Years later, when asked if he ever thought Peters' actions had put him at risk, platoon sergeant George Yandell, a soldier under his command, responded that the men knew that wherever they went, Bob had likely been there first. His platoon was, to the best of Bob's knowledge, the most highly decorated, earning 13 Silver Stars, 21 Bronze Stars, and 10 Purple Hearts, with only one killed in action. Bob himself was awarded the Silver Star and Oak Leaf Cluster for his bravery in action.
Bob loved music, both classical and jazz, and was the organist and choir director in Lutheran congregations in Ohio and Florida. From their earliest days, the children fell asleep on Saturday evenings to the sound of him practicing hymns and Bach preludes, postludes, and offertories. He was on the Board of Governors for the Lutheran Students' Center at Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, coordinating the finances of the Gamma Delta house which rented rooms to students under the supervision of the vicar who also conducted the services at Prout Chapel on the university campus. Vicars, a new one each year, would travel monthly from Bowling Green to the Peters' home in Maumee, Ohio to review the finances. The original two-story Gamma Delta house was ill-suited as a meeting place for gatherings of Lutheran students and Bob led the effort to build a suitable worship and fellowship center off campus. The facility was located immediately across the street from a major campus dormitory and included a chapel with a pipe organ he'd located as well as a roomy meeting area, complete with kitchen, where students could gather for Bible study and the infamous "Cost Suppers" which featured copious amounts of spaghetti with meat sauce. The new facility provided space for a full-time pastor to serve the student body and gave students an opportunity to experience leadership and service in their own congregation rather than merely being guests in a community church.
Bob's interest in finance led to his writing the book: "ROI: Practical Theory and Innovative Applications", published in 1974. The second edition, published in 1979, was translated into a number of foreign languages including Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Danish. While figures were a serious interest, Bob's dry sense of humor was captured in the sign above his desk: "Torture numbers and they'll confess to anything." His financial abilities also benefited the three churches where he was an adult member. While Saturday evenings were dedicated to practicing church music, Sunday afternoons were reserved for posting the congregational offerings to the church books. He worked with the Church of the Lutheran Confession to establish the current North Port congregation. His dedicated efforts helped move the congregation from a store front setting to its own facility. He coordinated the purchase of a parsonage to provide living quarters for a resident pastor and then arranged for its subsequent sale when the home was no longer needed. He relinquished his duties as organist and financial secretary on December 19, 2013 due to declining health.
Bob is survived by his wife, Jean, five children, nine grandchildren, and two great grand children.
The family especially recognizes the contributions of those who assisted Bob: his housekeeper of many years, Vicki Palumbo, grandson Matt Keene (chief mangrove pruner), daughter Lori (moral support, overseer of meals, medical appointments, installation of medical devices, and bee control), and John Myers (chief driver and tender of wounds) his attorney, Chip Gaylor, and Pastor Mark Weis. They express their thanks to Dr. Harold Kaplan for his many years attending to Bob's health as well as the staff of Tidewell Hospice for their care during his final days. Bob's life was immeasurably enriched by his wife, Jean, and her devotion to him during his final days, serving as a living model of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NIV).
Burial will be in the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota on January 24 at 2:30 p.m. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Farley Funeral Home of Venice is handling arrangements.
Memorial gifts may be directed to the Student Aid Fund of Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, WI. To send condolences, visit www.farleyfuneralhome.com.


Published in Herald Tribune from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20, 2014
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