April 1, 1929
-September 16, 2021
Donald Peterson died peacefully at his home in Roswell, Georgia, at the age of 92. He was born in Sandstone, Minnesota to Martin Theodore and Margaret Mildred Peterson (née Dezell). Upon graduating from Maynard High School, he served in the U.S. Navy (1946-47) as a communications specialist aboard the U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61). After leaving the Navy, Don joined the Air Force. Don attended the University of Minnesota from 1947-1950, then transferred to Gustavus Adolphus College, where he graduated with a B.S. degree in business. He married the former Lois Ruth Taylor in 1952, accepted a position with Prudential as an underwriter, and moved to Golden Valley, Minnesota, while welcoming five sons into their home by 1961 (Wyatt, Winston, Whitney, Westley, and Webster). After purchasing a small community bank in Western Minnesota, Don moved his family to Murdock in 1967, where he became a city councilman, and was elected mayor in 1972.
Don was devoted to the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) becoming a lifelong member starting in 1954 and later serving on the Club's national board of directors for 12 years. In 1962 and '63, he served as the director of the CCCA's Upper Midwest Region (UMR), leading the region from last to first for the CCCA Bigelow Trophy (overall club participation and performance), a reign that lasted for seven of the next ten years. He got his start in automotive magazine production as editor of the UMR's Windshield Post from 1961 to 1963, winning the club's Turnquist Trophy for the best regional magazine all three years, a publication that then went on to win the award eight out of the next ten years. In 1965, the CCCA instituted its Citation for Distinguished Service, and Peterson was proud to accept the first award (along with Gordon Maynard of California).
In 1974, Don left his beloved Minnesota and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he met and married the former Edie Tannenbaum. Together, they raised their son, Ryan, who was born in 1986. In 1977, Don was hired as the first editor of Car Collector magazine, a position he held for 14 years, and a magazine for which he became half owner, ultimately selling it in the mid-1990s. He started his own automotive appraisal business in 1974, Classic Car Appraisal Service, which he continued to run with four of his sons right up to his death.
For Don, traveling was always on the forefront of his mind. If he wasn't on tour with a Classic automobile, he was traveling overseas with family and friends to some 110 plus countries, covering all seven continents. He boasted of driving an estimated two million miles during his excursions, more than 300,000 of them in collector cars. His favorite trip in a Classic car was in 1995, during the CCCA Coast-to-Coast Caravan. Don – along with a change of passengers between sons Wyatt and Ryan, and his wife, Edie – drove his 1930 Packard 734 Speedster on a one-month tour around the U.S. (most of the way without a support vehicle), putting tire to pavement in 48 states and adding almost 10,000 miles to the car's odometer. Don was on at least 73 Caravans, more than any other person.
Don is survived by his wife, Edie; brother Jerry; sons Wyatt (Mercea), Winston (Mary Jo), Westley (Laura), Webster (Kari), and Ryan (Jason); six grandsons; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Whitney.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 beginning at 1 o'clock followed by A Celebration of Life memorial at 2 o'clock at H.M. Patterson and Son, Arlington Chapel, 173 Allen Rd., NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. There will also be funeral and interment services later by Washburn McReavy Funeral Home in Bloomington, Mn. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Donald's life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Salvation Army or Gustavus Adolphus College at 800 West College Ave., St. Peter, Mn 56082.
Published by Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sep. 20, 2021.