Gordon Kermit Peterson
Salem - February 23, 1923 - June 18, 2020
Dr. Gordon Peterson, 87, passed away at his home in Salem on June 18. He was born February 23, 1933 in Flandreau, SD to Kermit and Grace Peterson. He grew up in Fargo,ND, attending Fargo High School. After graduation he spent one year at North Dakota State University then transferred to the University of North Dakota to complete his undergraduate degree. He was accepted into Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, IL. He supported himself by holding down three jobs and driving for an ambulance service at night. To reduce his living expenses he lived in a hospital with several roommates. He loved to regale his family with stories of their antics - it wasn't always hard work! He first experienced the Pacific Northwest in high school while on a church youth group trip, and decided to pursue his Internal Medicine residency at the Mason Clinic in Seattle. While there he met and married Tellelyn Hoffman. Following his residency, the couple moved to Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM. Gordon became the Chief of Hospital Services, earning the rank of Captain. The couple settled in Salem in 1963, where he joined the Salem Clinic and retired as partner and Medical Director after more than 30 years of service. He served as President of the Salem Hospital Board for a term and strongly advocated for the addition of a heart surgery unit as well as local cobalt treatments for cancer patients, believing Salem area residents should not have to travel to Portland for their care. As a physician, he was an early pioneer in the use of Vitamin B-12 and derived great satisfaction from the positive impact it had on his patients. Gordon was a man of faith, caring for the whole person and their spiritual health. He would often be found praying with patients in his office and at their bedsides. His other life-long passion was "cowboying", both at his farm in the Macleay area and helping friends herd cattle on ranches in Central Oregon. Gordon and Tellelyn lived in the same home for 50 years, raising their three beloved daughters and thoroughly enjoying country life. Gordon was dedicated to reaching kids, serving on the Salem Young Life committee for over 20 years. In the later years of his life he attended an annual retreat at Mount Angel Abbey, developing deep bonds with friends he met there. After Tellelyn passed he was blessed to meet and marry the second love of his life, Judy Smallwood Peterson. Their shared love for Jesus, music, and laughter brought great joy and contentment for both. In addition to Tellelyn, Gordon was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Audrey Swenson. "Papa" is greatly missed! He is survived by his daughters Kirsten Pribilsky (Kevin) of Batavia, IL; Sonya Penner (Roger) of Seattle, WA; and Marni Scofield (Eric) of Colorado Springs, CO. Grandchildren are Stefan, Tanner, Ethan and Greta Pribilsky; Lacey, Audrey and Maureen Penner; and Hudson and Charlie Scofield. A memorial gathering will be held at a future date due to current Covid-19 restrictions. Donations in his memory may be made to Salem Young Life and Mt. Angel Abbey Guesthouse: 1 Abbey Dr, Saint Benedict, OR 97373. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
Published in The Statesman Journal from Jun. 27 to Jun. 28, 2020.