Cover photo for Richard F. Peterson's Obituary
Richard F. Peterson Profile Photo
1930 Richard 2015

Richard F. Peterson

May 10, 1930 — April 27, 2015

Richard F. Peterson, age 84 of Cozad, passed away Monday, April 27, 2015 at Meadowlark Pointe. Dick, son of John and Maggie (Wilhelmson) Peterson, of Hayes Center, was born at Wellfleet, Nebraska, May 10, 1930. He attended the rural school at Evergreen, and completed his elementary studies in Hayes Center. Because of his great athletic abilities, he was asked to play on the Hayes Center High School varsity basketball team, as an eighth grader. In High School, he lettered in all three sports, football (quarterback), basketball and track, garnering 12 letters. During his senior year, he won the gold at the State Track Meet, running the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds. He also lettered in band, served as Senior Class President, and participated in the Junior and Senior Class Plays. During the summers, he played baseball and was scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Following graduation, he worked on transmission lines at the John A. Gentleman Power Plant at Sutherland, and on the sewer systems in Hoisington, Kansas. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1950, with boot camp in San Diego, followed by his training at Treasure Island, San Francisco. He was assigned to the USS Mt. Katmai, AE-16, an ammunition ship during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1954, having received the Maximum Rifleman Award, the Good Conduct Medal and the Korean War Medal. Dick returned to Nebraska, enrolling at Kearney State, where he majored in industrial arts, with a minor in physical education with endorsements in coaching and driver's education. He was a member of the Phi Tau Gamma Fraternity, and a charter member of the Industrial Arts Club, serving as treasurer. He met his sweetheart Marilyn Whitney at the College, and they were engaged in 1955. Dick was baptized at the First United Methodist Church, Kearney. The couple was married at the Church on June 17, 1956. In 1958, he began his teaching career in Cozad, followed by teaching in Westminster, Colorado. After completing his Master's Degree, he returned to Nebraska, as Principal at the Eustis Public Schools. As Assistant Football Coach, his team went undefeated in 1962. He was honored by the team in 2012. He taught at Fremont High School, coaching cross country, track and golf. The 1972 Golf Team won the Class A State Tournament. In recognition of that accomplishment, Dick was inducted into the Fremont High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. His coaching also included Assistant Golf Coach at Midland Lutheran College, Fremont. Dick has his private pilot's license, and he taught Civil Air Patrol students. As a pilot, Dick went out on "search and rescue missions." He is a member of the Cozad Aviation Hall of Fame. A special highlight is a hole-in-one at the Fremont Country Club, plus playing in a golf benefit with Pro Golfer Gary Player. His career included working for National School Studios, as a photographer, as well as owning Peterson Photography Studio. He retired in 1994, returning to Cozad, where he was the Assistant Golf Coach at Cozad High School. His memberships include Rotary International, Masonic Lodge, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Cozad Honor Guard, Cozad Country Club, Shriners, Elks and the Cozad United Methodist Church. Because of his volunteerism, the Cozad community, under the auspices of the 100th Meridian Museum, established the Dick and Marilyn Second-Mile Volunteerism Scholarship presented annually to a Cozad High School Senior. On February 25, Dick was presented the "We Appreciate Veterans" citation, by Cozad Central Plains Hospice. The honor, under the auspices of the Nebraska Hospice Veteran Partnership, is in recognition of his military service during the Korean War. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Charles; brother-in-law Boyd Gigax and half-sister LaVada Moore. Survivors include his wife Marilyn of Cozad; brother Marvin (Norma Jean) Peterson of North Platte; twin sister Barbara Gigax of Hayes Center; sister-in-law Jane Peterson of Irving, TX; nieces and nephews, Doug (Brenda Grant) Peterson, Rod (Debbie) Miller, and Pam Peterson, all of North Platte; Donald (Maggie) Gigax of Jacksonville, FL, Blake (Mary) Gigax of Hayes Center, Mitchell (Lisa) Peterson of Denver, Jon (Jenith) Peterson of Plano, TX, Amy Jo Croteau of Stephensville, TX and the Moore children: Clarence, Jerry, Marlin and Mary; Lindell (Beth) Whitney of Aurora, CO, Leyden Whitney of Northglenn, CO, John (Kathy Nelson) Rosenbloom of Boulder, CO, Kelly Decker of Kearney, Shelly Decker of Los Angeles, CA; sister-in-law Carol Whitney Decker of Modesto, CA; brother-in-law Jerry Decker of Kearney; sister-in-law Beverly Whitney (Ken) Grant of Pasadena, CA; Arthur (Deb) Soderholm of Johnston, IA; Maurice (Joanne) Nelson of Highlands Ranch, CO and many special friends including Joe (Pat) Onstott of Boston and the Lyle Davis Family of Cozad. Memorials are suggested to the Cozad Country Club. Online condolences may be shared at berrymanfuneralhome.com. Memorial services will be held Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Cozad United Methodist Church with Pastor Doug Smith officiating. Burial will be held prior to the service at Prairie Home Cemetery at Holdrege. Visitation will be Friday from 1 to 8 with family receiving friends from 5 to 7 at Berryman Funeral Home, which is in charge of arrangements.
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