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Peterson, Donald L.*  
Don Peterson passed away peacefully on Jan. 10, 2015, at La Hacienda in Green Valley, Ariz., with his loving family and Pastor Bensen present. A memorial service is scheduled at Green Valley Community Church on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, at 11 a.m. Don was born in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 10, 1928, to Laurence C. Peterson and Ruth I. (Nealy) Peterson. Don came to Kodiak, Alaska, with the U.S. Navy and fell in love with Alaska and upon discharge moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he homesteaded 160 acres and with the help of his G.I. Bill. Don got his commercial pilot license, multi-engine rating, instrument and ATR. Don met his wife, Diane Swanberg, in Nome, Alaska, and they were married in Nome in 1956. Don was hired as a combination bush/copilot for Wien Alaska Airlines. Don was among a group of Wien pilots in the 1960s that flew the DC-4 to resupply the floating ice islands research stations, T-3, which was about 600 miles north of Barrow (halfway to the Pole) and ARLIS II, which was about 80 miles to the Pole. The islands were constantly moving, with night landings in the winter challenging. During Don's flying career, which spanned over 34 years for Wien, he logged over 25,000 hours in Cessnas, Norseman, DC-3, C-46, DC-4, Lockheed Constellation, Fairchild F-27, DC-8, Boeing 737 and Boeing 727. Most of his hours were logged as captain. In 1988, Don went to Singapore for five months, flying for NMB between Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei and Narita and returned the following spring to ferry the B-727 to Marana, Ariz. Don was MEC Chairman for Wien Pilots for many years and was Chairman of the Wien Pilots Retirement Plan till it was disbursed in 1988. Don was a lifetime member of the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo #1 and The Airline Pilots Association and a member of the Green Valley Community Church. Don is survived by his wife of 58 years, Diane; and children, Don Jr. (Bonnie), Susie Peterson, and Sandi (Rudi) Endres; seven grandchildren, Breann, Tyler, Lisa, Peter, Lyndsey, Stefan and Michael; great-grandchildren Jordan, Keira, Grace and Ryder; and many loving nieces. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Laurence and Ruth Peterson; sister, Shirley Keene; and his beloved son, Nels C. Peterson, in 2008. The family thanks ail the staff at La Hacienda for their loving care and kindness they gave to Don. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Don's memory be made to the Green Valley Food Bank or Wounded Warrior Project.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on Jan. 25, 2015
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