Ronald Dean Petersen (1929 - 2016)

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Funeral services for Ronald D. Petersen, 87, were conducted by Pastor Glen Meyers on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. at the Exira Christian Church in Exira. Interment was in the St. John's Lutheran Cemetery wests of Exira. The honorary casket bearers were Abby Landon, Spencer Landon, Derick Petersen, Chance Trewet, Andrew Petersen, Riley Christensen, Caroline Trewet, Kady Petersen, Maddie Christensen, Zane Petersen, Zander Petersen, Willow Petersen, and Isabelle Landon. The casket bearers were Dan Nissen, Lee Nissen, Lanny Olsen, Craig Parmley, Dennis Nelson, and Danny Budd. The Kessler Funeral Home in Exira was in charge of the arrangements.
 Ronald Dean Petersen was born to Andrew Petersen and Florence Nissen Petersen at their home in rural Exira on May 24, 1929 and died at the Exira Care Center on Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 at the age of 87.
He loved to tell the story that his mother named him Roland, but there was a misprint on his birth certificate. Rather than make a fuss and asking for a corrected document, his parents just decided to call him the name that was on the certificate: Ronald. He was baptized and confirmed in his faith at St. John's Lutheran Church west of Exira. He went to country school until 1942 and high school in Exira, graduating in 1946. He played trumpet in the band. Ron's brush with celebrity came during this time when he sat next to Bill Fries, also known as CW McCall, while Fries went to school in Exira for a year. Much to his children's surprise, he performed in a few school plays and was a member of the men's glee club. After graduation, Ron tried his hand at the big city life and was a meat cutter for Safeway in Council Bluffs, but his heart wasn't in it. He longed to be back on the farm. After three months, he returned to Exira and began farming with his dad.
He was drafted into the United States Army in April of 1951 during the Korean Conflict. He was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina for boot camp and then at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin where he was a proud member of the Army Band and would make friends with some amazing men with whom he would remain in contact for the rest of his life.
After being discharged from the Army in April of 1953, he returned to Exira and got right back into farming. After a blind date and a short courtship, he was united in marriage to Isabelle Anne Maltais on December 15, 1962 at the Exira Lutheran Church. They were blessed to raise their five children on the family farm. He passed on his love for music to his children. They would beg him until he relented to play "The Lone Ranger" (The William Tell Overture) on his trumpet. They were not nearly as impressed with his rendition of "Reveille" at the bottom of the stairs on school mornings. He loved to listen to the marches of John Phillip Sousa, polkas by the Six Fat Dutchman, the Statler Brothers, The Irish Rovers and introduced his grandchildren to the musical masterpiece, "The Chicken Dance". He read every book by Louis L'amour and would do crossword puzzles with a pen. He and Isabelle traveled the U.S. in their pickup camper and toured Europe twice with his brother Richard and his wife, Jan. They were able to journey to Denmark, the land of his ancestors.
He was a hard worker and expected the same from his family. He taught them about responsibility, the value of a dollar, to tell the truth and often reminded them there was NO FREE LUNCH. When he asked you to watch a gate, you had better not let anything through that gate. He hated wastefulness and he loved a good joke, if he could remember how it went. (He would write out his favorites in longhand). He tolerated cats, and he loved his dogs. He was known to give all of the animals an extra portion of feed on Christmas Eve and believed that they would be given the gift of speech at midnight.
As surely as his children and grandchildren inherited Ron's DNA, they also inherited his love for nature and the land. It was always a treat to ride with Papa in the tractor or combine or to sit with him in his chair and share a Dum Dum sucker or some M&M's while watching TV. He could chase away scary, imaginary beings from a house, he could carve a whistle out of a willow twig, he called foxtail "tickle grass" and he could squeeze ten cents from a nickel. He cheered for the St. Louis Cardinals but never got to see them play in person. He was a proud member of the Brayton American Legion Post. He loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren and his great-granddaughters dearly and he will be missed by all who knew him.
He was preceded on this journey by his parents, his brother, Richard Petersen and his son-in-law, Mitch Trewet.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Isabelle; children: Tami Trewet-Sloop and husband Kurt of Atlantic; Teresa Christensen and husband Tom, of Audubon; Mark Petersen and wife Amy of Libby, Mont.; Pat Petersen and wife, Mary of Exira; Jennifer Rettele and husband LD of Omaha; his grandchildren, Chance Trewet of Adair; Caroline Trewet of Atlantic; Abby Landon and daughter, Isabelle Grace, of Audubon; Spencer Landon of Silverthorne, Colo.; Riley Christensen and Maddie Christensen of Audubon; Andrew Petersen and Zander Petersen of Libby, Mont.; Derick Petersen and wife Bethany and their daughter Willow Tennessee of Indianapolis, Ind.; Kady Petersen and Zane Petersen of Exira; his sister-in-law, Jan Petersen of Des Moines; nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.
Funeral Home
Kessler's Exira Funeral Home
234 W South St
Exira, IA 50076
(712) 268-2662
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Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Sept. 2 to Sept. 9, 2016