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Charles W. Petersen

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Charles W. Petersen Obituary
Charles W. Petersen

Charles W. Petersen, 88, of Sioux Falls, passed away peacefully on December 27, 2015. Charles will always be remembered as a caring and lovely gentleman known for his distinguished bowties and his contagious positive attitude.

Charles Warren Petersen was born on July 18, 1927 in Irene, South Dakota to Herman Albert and Leona Bessie Petersen, the second of their three children. Charles graduated from Irene High School in May 1945 and, with the permission of his mother because he had not yet attained the age of 18, immediately enlisted in the US Navy, in which he served in the Pacific theater.

Upon returning from the service, Charles attended Augustana College and graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in Business Administration. On Easter Sunday, April 17, 1949, he married Delilah Caroline Marie (Petersen) Petersen in Irene. They moved to Yankton, South Dakota where they would live except for two years until 1986, at which time they moved to Sioux Falls. They had two children, Merrily Jane and Scott Charles.

Charles spent his early career in banking, first at the American State Bank in Yankton, then at the State Bank of New Ulm (Minnesota), thereafter returning to Yankton to head the newly created Valley State Bank. Intrigued by the emerging technology of data processing, Charles started Charles Petersen & Associates, a computerized bookkeeping service in 1965.

With the passage of President Johnson's Great Society programs for affordable housing in 1968, Charles then focused his business talents on real estate development and management. Over the next 20 years, Charles developed numerous apartment projects for the elderly and low-income families throughout South Dakota. Later, he was a leader in the preservation of historic properties, including the Carnegie Library and Charles Gurney Hotel in Yankton, and the Saint Charles Hotel in Pierre.

Throughout his life, Charles was a very caring person. As a young man, he assisted his father, who was wheelchair-bound with arthritis, by driving him from farm to farm to sell his household merchandise. He took care of his great grandmother, Ethel Lingle, who lived to be three months shy of 100 years. He was the primary caregiver to his wife, Delilah, as she struggled with Alzheimer's the last four years of her life. And, at age 84, he became a Stephen's Minister, so he could counsel souls at the Penitentiary. To the end, Charles would always say that he was blessed with a wonderful life.

Charles will be missed by his two children, Merrily and Scott (and his wife, Maryanne), all of Sioux Falls, his three grandchildren, Scott, Meagan and Erica, all presently of Boston, Massachusetts, his close friend, Peggy Frost, and his sister, Mary Ellen Asher of Phoenix, Arizona. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 60 years, Delilah, and his brother, Marvin of Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Services will be held for Charles at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls at 11:00am Thursday on December 31, with interment alongside his wife, Delilah, at Woodlawn Cemetery. Family visitation will begin at 10:00am in the Gathering Room at First Lutheran Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the Washington Pavilion.

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Published in The Argus Leader on Dec. 29, 2015
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