Leon Fred Pettersen

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Leon Fred Pettersen of Live Oak, Florida, passed away on Monday, February 6, 2012, at the age of 79 at Still Waters West in Lake City, Florida.  He was the son of Leon William and Sayda Seybold Pettersen and was born on June 12, 1932, in Madison, Wisconsin.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree.  Leon enjoyed photography and was recognized as a photographer for the Badger, the University of Wisconsin yearbook.  He was a performer in productions of the Madison Theatre Guild.  Leon was a private pilot and had his own plane for a time.
Leon won an amateur disc jockey contest by competing in a series of broadcasts on WFOW radio to represent Madison in the statewide contest in 1951 which inspired his broadcasting career.  In the 1950s Leon had the "The Big Eight" program and started the "High School Sports" program on WISC radio and was a television weatherman on WIBA in Madison.  Leon was the main weather anchor for the "Major 9 Report" at KCAU-TV Channel 9 in Sioux City, Iowa, through the mid-1970s.  He relocated to sunny Florida where he was the weathercaster named Sonny Daye on WLCY-TV Channel 10 in the Tampa Bay area.  In 1983 Leon was awarded the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval for television weathercasting by the Board of Radio and Television Weathercasting.  Leon worked with WWBA radio in the Tampa Bay area.  
Leon was well known in this area as the owner and general manager of WLVO 106.1 FM radio station in Live Oak.  He erected the tower, signed on the air in September 1998, and subsequently received the permanent FCC license fulfilling his longtime aspiration.  WLVO began as an oldies station and evolved to become "The Heart of Rock and Roll" with a classic rock format.  During his "Community Calendar" broadcast every weekday, he announced upcoming community events.  WLVO was a sponsor of the Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Olustee and many other community events for years.
Leon was a 57-year member of the Free and Accepted Masons of Wisconsin, Commonwealth Lodge Number 325 of Madison.  He was a member of the Valley of Madison Scottish Rite for 53 years.  Leon was a 52-year member of Shriners International and last a member of Egypt Shriners in Tampa, Florida.  Since 1961 Leon was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; he was a lifetime member and last a member of Live Oak, Florida, Lodge No. 1165.  Leon was a member of the Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida since 1993 and served as President in 2009–2011.    
Leon is survived by his sister, Cathryn Pettersen Montgomery (Eugene); niece, Cathryn Suzanne Montgomery Leslie (John); nephew, Ronald Pettersen Montgomery (Sharon); and grandnieces, Veronica Ann Montgomery and Megan Marie Montgomery.
A memorial tribute to honor Leon's life will be held at the Live Oak Elks Lodge No. 1165, 415 East Howard Street, Live Oak, on Sunday, March 11, 2012, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.  All are welcome to join in remembering Leon.  Peace.
Published in Lake City Reporter on Mar. 7, 2012
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