Roger Lee Peterson was born on July 21, 1937 in Waterloo, the oldest son of Melvin and Dorothy (Anderson) Peterson’s seven children. He grew up on his family’s farm in Denver and attended Denver High School. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps on July 23, 1954. After proudly serving three years, Roger cross-trained to the US Air Force, where he served with distinction for an additional 17 years. Roger spent a large portion of his career in South East Asia, having served four tours of duty in Vietnam, as well as several shrouded campaigns that he referred to as, ‘Every little hot spot since Suez…’ On January 31, 1975, Roger retired after 20 years of distinguished service. His commendations include, but are not limited to the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal with three bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with a bronze star, the Vietnam Service Medal with both bronze & silver stars, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
On June 9, 1978, he was united in marriage to Beverly Ann Mahnke in Yankton, SD. They moved their blended family to La Porte City and lived a real life ‘Brady Bunch.’
After his military retirement, Roger found success in several professional endeavors including flying commercial aircraft for TransWorld Airlines, 12 years as an Electrical Engineer at John Deere Tractor Works in Waterloo and 10 years as an Electrical Engineer at Cummins Engine (CDC) in Whitakers, NC. Roger was an expert marksman and loved fostering that passion in his children. He preferred working with his hands and in true engineering fashion could build and repair anything. Later in life, he enjoyed wood working, puzzles, building model airplanes and sharing his testimony of salvation. Roger’s sense of humor was infectious and he was a generous giver.
Roger was called home on July 26th surrounded by his family. He joins his parents, brother, Stephen Peterson and sister, Delores Ewers with their heavenly father. He is survived by his devoted wife, Beverly Ann Peterson; three brothers: John (Joan) of Ocala, FL, Paul (Jenny) of Torrence, CA and Mark (Alice Marie) of Bloomington, IN; one sister, Lois Peterson Ruth (Mike) of Marshalltown; his children, Kevin (Jane) of Townville, SC, Tim and Paul of Piedmont, SC, and Jeffrey (Amy) of Wilson, NC, Taleena Peterson Widener of Piedmont, SC, Judith Peterson of Lexington, SC, Christina Peterson of La Porte City and Leanna Peterson Griffin (Eric) of Nashville, NC; one step-daughter, Patricia Hopkins of Piedmont, SC; 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind his loyal ‘Chief of Security’, 12-year-old Chihuahua, Albert, who refused to leave his side until his last breath.
A celebration of Roger’s life will be held Friday, August 2, 2019 at 11 AM at Parrott & Wood Chapel of Memories in Waterloo, with Pastor Robert McMurdock officiating. The family will receive visitors prior to the service, from 10-11 AM. Graveside inurnment with full military honors will follow at Garden of Memories in Waterloo.