Dr. Ralph Edward Peterson passed away on Monday, October 28, 2013, in the arms of his eldest daughter, Laura Peterson.
He fought a long and hard battle with cancer, and passed peacefully at age 82 at his condominium overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Kraft Peterson, his sister Florence Harves, his four children, Laura Jo Peterson, Carolyn Peterson Richter and her husband Werner, Bradford Alan Peterson, and Donald Edward Peterson and his wife Karen, and grandchildren, Katherine Elizabeth Peterson, Iris Adela Peterson, Anna Josephine Peterson, Patrick Sebastian Richter and Daniel Peterson Richter. He is also survived by four stepdaughters, Claudia Kraft, Jordi Clark and her husband Steve, Kerry Edelman her husband Richard, and Julie Davidson and her husband Greg, and grandchildren Julia Gaskins, Jessica Govic, Ericka Edelman, and Vesta and Roark Davidson, and a great-granddaughter, Astrid Gaskins.
His first wife, Elizabeth "Betty" Peterson, predeceased him, having passed away in 1982 at age 49. His first son, Brian Peterson, passed away in 1958 when he was one year old. He believed he would be reunited with them on his passing.
Dr. Peterson would want to be remembered for his love of music and dancing. He and his wife, Dorothy, together were active in the Gulf Jazz Society, the Panama City POPS, and the Panama City Music Association. He believed in education above all else, for women equally as for men, and was a patriotic American. At his last home, he proudly flew the American flag.
Ralph was a first-generation American. His parents, Oscar and Astrid, were born in Sweden and came to the United States as young teenagers. Ralph knew at age 6 that he wanted to be a doctor. After graduating from the University of Oregon Medical School, he elected to join the United States Air Force in 1956 and entered as First Lieutenant. He served at Clark Air Force Base in Manila, Philippines, from 1960 to 1966, where he was promoted to the position of Chief of Orthopedic Surgery. He practiced medicine in Naples, Florida from 1968 to the end of his medical career, and also served in the National Guard, from September 10, 1977 until his 60th birthday on July 14, 1991, when he retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel. He was awarded the Air Force Longevity Service Award, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Orthopedic Surgeons. He was certified by, and one of the first doctors to be recertified by, the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. He was also a Member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a Member of the American College of Surgeons, a Member of the Bay County Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, and a Member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity which he pledged at Oregon State University.
Ralph was most proud of letters of commendation he received from Walter Reed Army Medical Center during his service at Clark Air Force Base for the quality of the condition of the preparatory work that his team of orthopedists at Clark performed on the limbs of wounded soldiers, so that they would be in the most favorable condition possible for further operative and rehabilitative treatment when they arrived in the United States.
The family will receive friends at Wilson Funeral Home in Panama City on Saturday, November 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. Graveside services with full military honors will be held at the Sarasota National Cemetery at 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, November 4, 9810 State Route 72, Sarasota, Florida 34241.
Wilson Funeral Home
Family Owned Since 1911
214 Airport Road
Panama City, Fla.
Published in Panama City News Herald on Oct. 30, 2013
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