Donald Arthur Peterson
1935 - 2020
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Donald Arthur Peterson

Donald Arthur

Peterson died

peacefully on December 31, 2020 at the age of 85, and is deeply loved as a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He was born December 8, 1935 to Arthur and Geneva (Holmes) Peterson in River Forest, IL. He received his B.A. in Economics from Miami of Ohio University, and an M.A. in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He met his wife and lifelong love Gwendolyn (Entz) Peterson while working as a City Planner in Denver, CO. They married on September 27, 1963, and immediately left to honeymoon and work for six months in Mannheim, Germany, followed by five months of travel around the world. They then returned to Illinois where Don worked as a City Planner for Lake County, then moved to Albuquerque, NM in 1968. He worked for the City of Albuquerque as an Assistant Planning Director, Zoning Administrator & Zoning Hearing Officer until 1980. He received a J.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1979 and then transitioned to work as a Senior Policy Analyst for the City Council until 1994. In 1995 he opened a private practice focused on Land Use Law, and taught at the UNM School of Architecture and Planning, until retirement in 2005. Don was a committed Christian, and was active in his church throughout his life, serving as a deacon, elder, and an appointee of the General Assembly Council for his denomination. And he never missed an opportunity for adventure; he and his wife traveled to all seven continents during his lifetime, finishing with Antarctica. He loved hiking, skiing, and square dancing, and in his later years picked up backpacking and camping with the Meadow Muffins hiking group. In 2012 Don was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but even in the throes of the disease never lost his easy smile and sense of humor. His family is grateful for the skillful care he received through the end of his life at The Retreat Alzheimer's Specialty Care. He is survived by his wife Gwendolyn, brother Robert (Suzanne), daughters Nicole (John) and Cecily (David), and grandchildren Elizabeth, Christina, Anya, and Aaron. We welcome you to a worship service in honor of Don's life at Faith Lutheran Church, 10,000 Spain Rd. NE, 87111 (COVID-19 restrictions will be observed), and online at, on Friday, January 8, 3:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, we welcome donations to a mission endowment through the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Ministry Council, 8207 Traditional Place, Cordova, TN 38016 (, then select "other" and specify "Don and Gwen Peterson Missions Endowment"), or to the Alzheimer's Association, 6731 Academy Road NE, ABQ, NM 87109


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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Jan. 5, 2021.
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January 5, 2021
Don was just a nice guy without pretension or aloofness. May he rest in peace
Matt Cohen
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