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Bill Petersen

Bill Petersen

Bill Petersen, 85, passed away August 8, 2006 due to causes related to age, completing a life dedicated to the youth and local community. With family at his side and the sweet melody of "Goodnight Sweetheart," he peacefully went home.

He was born William Christian Petersen in Pipestone, Minn., on June 30, 1921 to William L. and Mae F. Petersen. He had two younger brothers, Peter E. and Donald E. Petersen. He grew up on the farmlands of Minnesota, bodysurfing the waves in Long Beach, Calif., and cruising the streets of Portland, Ore.

On February 26, 1943, Bill married "the good looking lady", the love of his life, Mae Gloria Myrah. They journeyed through 63 years of marriage, lived in seven different communities and produced eight children. A good life, a great family.

Bill, or Pete as he was often called, graduated from Washington High School in Portland, Ore. He attended Pacific Lutheran College before joining the United States Navy. Bill was a Radio Technician First Class serving on the minesweeper, The USS Swift. His duties included decoding sensitive communications. The Swift participated in many World War II theaters, including the sweeping of the English Channel for the invasion of Normandy on June 7, 1944. He was very proud of his service to his country. He declined invitation from the Navy to continue and came home to be with his wife and first born son.

In 1948, Bill was hired by the Boy Scouts of America and found his life vocation. The Boy Scouts placed Bill in Portland, Ore., Astoria, Ore., Vancouver, Wash., Spokane, Wash., Bremerton, Wash., and finally in 1962, Medford, Ore. He decided that Medford was it - no more moving. Naturally being a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout himself, the love of the outdoors was always there, and he enjoyed many, many hikes and camping trips to the mountains and coast. He loved his view of the Siskiyou Mountains.

Some of his favorite memories include a front seat ride on a Grand Canyon week-long rafting adventure. Bill also was a big Black Tornado fan with three of his sons participating in high school football and wrestling. He loved the sounds of the big band era, traditional jazz and Dixieland jazz. The beat of a good bass player was always a reason to smile and tap his feet. After retiring from the Boy Scouts, Bill was busy with volunteer opportunities. He served on the Medford Planning Commission, Senior Services tax helpers and was an Oregon Representative at Expo 86 in Vancouver, B.C. Since 1962, Bill has been a member of Ascension Lutheran Church and was involved at various levels.

He is survived by his wife, Mae, his children and their families; Bruce and Jan Petersen of La Center, Wash., Brian Petersen and Ellie Turpin of Eugene, Ore., Sig and Jack Young of Portland, Ore., Sue and Ted Fleming of Eugene, Ore., Clark and Bonnie Petersen of Alpharetta, Ga., Dolly and John Garrick of Portland, Ore., Scott Petersen of Portland, Ore., and Carol and Bob Riley of Medford, Ore. and his brother, Don Petersen of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Grandchildren include: Kristen, Peter, Hillary, Clark, Andrea, Ellie, Meredith, Helen, Erik, Britta, Erin and his great-grandson Mason.

He was preceded in death by his brother; Peter Petersen of Odessa, Tex., and his grandson Mark Petersen of La Center, Wash.

A celebration of life open house will be held Sunday, September 3, 2006 at the Medford Townhouse Clubhouse, 314 Eastwood Dr., Medford, OR., from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. The family suggests donations to youth organizations of your choice or to the Alzheimer's Association of America.

Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight.

Bill Petersen