Glenn D. Peterson - January 10, 2012
June 30, 1932 - Jan. 10, 2012
In 1932, Glenn was born in Ingham, Nebraska, the 7th of 12 children of Oscar and Josie (Brown) Peterson. Siblings: Harold (deceased), William (deceased), Blaine, Lloyd, Dorothy, Marion B and Marjorie Lee – (died in infancy), Glenn, Veryl and Stanley – (died as toddlers in the late 1930’s), Douglas, and Larry. Later in life, he welcomed an 8th brother, Brian.
Glenn’s birth date (written into the base of the cistern at the family ranch) was in the first year that water was available in the house. That Midwest farm life was a part of his very fiber and shaped values held his entire life. He was proud that he started driving the tractor when he was 9, and when someone asked him at school how many cows they milked, his answer (probably learned from his brothers) was “Twelve S.O.B.’s.” He always had spunk.
His sister, Dorothy, having lost two infant sisters, was 6 when Glenn was born and always had a special bond with him. She watched over him while her parents took care of the day-to-day activities on the ranch. While the older brothers constantly picked on her, Dorothy remembers Glenn being a very kind and considerate child; they remained close over the years. She recalled that when he was 5 and tried to close a loose rear car door, the wind caught it and he fell out onto the highway, re-breaking an arm already broken by falling on a cream separator. Later, when Dorothy’s husband passed away, Glenn left his young family, helped to ready her husband’s business for sale, and was a great source of strength for her during a very difficult time. Dorothy’s kids always remember it was a fun time when Uncle Glenn was in the room.
He would do almost anything for any of his family members and was quick to tell anyone how much they too had done for him throughout his life.
In 1941, the Peterson family moved off the farm into the “big” town of Gothenburg, Nebraska. When Glenn was 15, his mother, Josie, died unexpectedly; Glenn then put most of his own adolescence aside and assumed the main responsibility for raising his two younger brothers – Doug, 6 and Larry 4. Larry once said that Glenn had been his “mother” during those years when he needed someone to comfort him.
Even though his school years were challenging, good things happened too. He was well-liked by his school buddies and while in 8th grade would meet Joanne Pyle, fall in love and be loyal to her through good times and bad over the next 64 years. They married on April 28, 1951, and had their first child, Lynn, two days before Glenn left for Korea for service in the Air Force. Halfway across the ocean, the ship was reassigned to Japan, where Glenn worked as a dental assistant. He was glad to have seen a new part of the world and proud to have served his country. At the time of his death, he had been a member of The American Legion for 60 years (Post 300, Garfield KS).
Soon after his return from Japan, two more children, Scott and Kevin, were born and the family settled back in Gothenburg. All children eventually married and gave Glenn and Joanne four grandchildren: Lynn, (Hugh Lewis)-Aaron; Scott, (Becky) Shane, Lindsay; and Kevin, (Becky) Sarah.
Glenn was a Mason and a member of the Presbyterian Church. He always supported his family through hard work. His background in farming taught him everything about farm machinery and he excelled as a salesman winning several awards… always looking for that next “deal.” Eventually, he went into regional sales (Gehl) and then managed the oldest International Harvester dealership in Kansas (Doerr’s in Larned).
Upon retirement, Glenn moved with Joanne to Ferndale, WA, and maintained his interest in machinery and mechanical things, restoring old wooden windmills, old tractors and vehicles. He taught himself how to use the computer and did some traveling with family and friends, liked antique firearms and old westerns on TV.
Most of all, he loved the prairie life in Nebraska and Kansas. He had a little hide-away RV and a shower house in Garfield, KS, and for many years went there in the summers to be the swather crew “BOSS.” He loved that as well as playing cards with the boys at the Co-op. Occasionally, he would fry up some home-made donuts for them. And at the end of the work day, he loved cocktail hour and shared Johnny Walker Red with whomever he could. The locals loved him and his sense of humor, and he gave them all hell. He gave us all hell. He loved that too; we not so much.
Glenn was generous, ethical, could be charming, and his word was his bond. He endured many hardships along the way but overcame most of them. He was the best husband, father, brother and grandfather that he knew how to be. He also was one tough man. He defied his doctors’ predictions of death 8-10 times and always came back. His last pronouncement gave him 6 months; he went 14. He died peacefully at the Hospice House, Bellingham, WA. His ashes will be laid to rest at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, Nebraska.
There will never be another generation like his…growing up not far from a sod house. We know that he is there now—breaking ice off the stock tank and enjoying the rhythmic clank of a windmill pumping water to the cows. We love you and we’ll miss you, Dad. But it’s 5 o’clock someplace…so have some fun and enjoy your journey!
Glenn’s ashes will be buried at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, NE. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: Helping Hands Fund, Gothenburg School Foundation, 1322 Avenue I, Gothenburg, NE 69138