Graydon M. “Pete” Peterson, 90, longtime Athens resident, died Wednesday November 6, 2013 at North Central Health Care Facilities, under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.
He was born December 15, 1922, in Colfax, son of the late Gustav and Clara (Moen) Peterson.
Pete received his education from Colfax public schools, a Bachelor of Science degree from UW River Falls and a master’s degree in Agricultural Education from the UW Madison. Graydon served in the US Army from 1943 until 1946, stationed in Iran as a member of the Persian Gulf command during World War II.
On June 19, 1953, he married Patricia Sebora of Athens, in Pine City, Minnesota. After 60 years of marriage, Pete still looked adoringly at Pat and called her “my bride”.
Pete’s teaching/administrative career spanned 35 years, 17 years as a vocational agriculture instructor at Athens High School and 18 years as Junior/Senior High School principal in Athens. He served as the school’s athletic director and managed the school forest for many years. Education was a rewarding career for Pete and he enjoyed helping students succeed.
He was one of the first presidents of the Athens Educational Association, was a life member of the Marathon County Agricultural Association, past president of the Marathon County Agricultural Workers. In his retirement, he continued to be involved in the Marathon County Retired Teacher Association.
During his life, Pete served the Athens Community in many ways. He served as the Athens Village President for four years and was an Athens Village Trustee for six years.
He was an active member and past Commander of the Athens American Legion, Chapman-Belter Post No. 4 and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Andrew J. Sutter Post No. 8527, Athens and president of the Athens Salvation Army Unit. Pete served as secretary of the Athens Fair for six years. He was also a director of the Bank of Athens for thirty years.
Pete served Marathon County as a Board Supervisor for fourteen years, a member of the Marathon County Solid Waste, Affirmative Action, Law Enforcement & Personnel Committees. He was also an officer in several county Housing Development committees. In addition, he was a member of the Zor Shrine in Madison, the Wausau Masonic Lodge No. 130 and volunteered for Social Services.
Pete was a longtime member of Christ United Church of Athens, serving as its president and trustee. His faith in God guided his walk, as he was a giving man, always thinking of others before himself.
Pete had a strong thirst for knowledge and a great appetite for reading & keeping up with current events. His reading often led to travel adventures to see what he had read about. Pete thought it was very important to take care of the environment & diligently practiced recycling long before it became the norm. He was a hard worker. If something needed to be done, Pete did it! His family will especially miss his frequent jokes, hearty laughter and loving, giving heart.
Survivors include his wife, Patricia Peterson, two daughters, Karen (Mark) Van Handel, Hartford; Julie (Peter Redmond) Peterson, Minneapolis, Minnesota, two grandchildren, Meagan (Nathan) Van Schmidt and Alexander Graydon Van Handel.
Funeral services will be Noon Tuesday November 12, 2013 at Christ United Church, Athens. Rev. Teri A. Hanson and Rev. Kenneth A. Dix will officiate. Burial will be in Athens Village Cemetery. Friends may call on Monday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Athens and again on Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. until the time of services at the church. There will be an American Legion and VFW Memorial Service at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Masonic Memorial Service Monday evening at the Athens funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established for a scholarship in Graydon’s name or may be directed to Athens Christ United Church. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com
The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation to North Central Health Care Facility, Gardenside Crossing, Our House Assisted Living for Memory Care and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services for the exceptional care given to Pete during his time with them.