GLENWOOD CITY — Glenwood City’s benefactor, Wayne Peterson, 79, died Saturday, February 28 after he walked away from his home on 150th Street in the Town of Glenwood.
Peterson promoted many things that benefited the local community. Following his retirement from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, he returned to his hometown and settled on the farm that has been in his family for more than a hundred years. He turned the farm into a showplace with many flower and vegetable gardens. He built a stage and during the summer invited people to come to the farm and listen to the music of Concerts in the Country. The farm also hosted anniversaries, weddings, church services and other community events.
Peterson was very interested in the history of the local area and was one of the founding members of the Glenwood Area Historical Society. On several occasions he visited with elementary school children and reviewed the history of Glenwood City. Wayne served on the board of directors of the Glenwood City Cemetery Association, on the St. Croix County Fair Board, Master Gardeners Association, local Chamber of Commerce, FFA Alumni Chapter and a member of the Glenwood City United Methodist Church.
Over the years Peterson honored local history by moving the former Glenwood Town Hall to his property. That building was once a schoolhouse and he made it into a school that visitors enjoyed. He also had a steeple off a church that was being razed in Boyceville brought to the farm for display and recently had a metal sided two-story garage moved from a Glenwood City residence to the farm.
Peterson passed away on February 28 after wandering away from his home. David Bartz, who was a caretaker for Peterson, had visited with Peterson Friday evening. He returned to his home shortly after nine Saturday morning, with fresh pancakes. Bartz found the house unlocked, but could not find Peterson, though his two dogs were in the house. Bartz looked for Peterson, though could not find him and he enlisted the help of Wayne Moe and they noticed that he had climbed a rail fence adjoining the neighbor’s property. Bartz indicated that he first found a glove and then found Peterson in a ravine. The local ambulance was called and with the help of others, they got him to 150th Street and he was taken to the Baldwin hospital where he passed away.
Bartz later indicated that footprints showed that Peterson had left his home, which is believed to have been during the night, and followed the north fence line to the west and then south and climbed over the fence.
Peterson is survived by a sister, brother-in-law, two nieces and a nephew.
Services for Wayne Peterson will be held from Holy Cross Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 5. Visitation will be at the Anderson Funeral Home from 4 to 8, Wednesday evening. A complete obituary can be found inside this issue.
Dave Bartz posted the following on Facebook about Wayne Peterson: “If you are lucky, and only if you are very lucky, you find yourself in the presence of a great person. This person makes you better from just having known them. They have a positive influence on individuals and communities alike. They give and share freely the resources they possess. Such a person for me is Wayne Peterson. It is my desire and hope that I have learned enough from the past few years that I can even be a shadow of the man he was.”