Harold O. Peterson, 96, of Crookston, died Friday, December 28th at Villa St. Vincent with his loving family by his side.
Harold was born on March 15, 1916 in Section 13, Roome Township, Polk County, Minnesota. He was the son of Anton and Lena (Anderson) Peterson. Harold attended country school at Eldred, Minnesota. He worked on the family farm with his father and brothers and ran the blacksmith shop in Eldred for a number of years. He was an accomplished mechanic and welder and worked as a spot-welder in a defense plant in Burbank, California during WWII. After the war he returned to Roome Township. He was united in marriage to Alma Anderson on June 6, 1948 at Warwick, ND. He farmed and raised his family on the farm north of Eldred until he retired in 1981. He and Alma continued living and working on the farm until moving into Crookston in 1999. Alma passed away on July 9, 2002.
Harold was a naturalist and conservationist. He loved feeding birds and participating in the annual Christmas bird count. He planted hundreds of trees and bushes around the farmyard and around the township and spent his spare time tending his large yard and garden. Harold and Alma received the 1979 Valley Farmer and Homemaker Award from the Red River Valley Winter Shows and in 1994 they received the Honorable Mention Farmstead Beautification Award presented by the West Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District.
In 2005 Harold received the Torch and Shield Award from the University of Minnesota in recognition of his many contributions to education and to the Crookston campus of the University of Minnesota. He was a lifelong member of the First English Lutheran Church at Eldred and served many years as a church board member and officer. He also enjoyed genealogy research. He and Alma spent many hours and traveled many miles searching government and church records and cemeteries for evidence of long-lost relatives. After Alma's death, Harold learned how to use the computer and continued his genealogical research online and through email correspondence. The final product of his work is a detailed family tree covering many generations of his and Alma's families. Harold's interest in the past went far beyond his family's roots. He was well known for his vast knowledge of the people and places of the Eldred area and was often sought out for it.
Harold is survived by a son: Myron (Holly) Peterson of Eden Prairie, MN; a daughter: Ruth (John) Reese of Mentor, MN; two granddaughters: Kelly (Randy) Seyler of Naples, FL & Jamie Reese of New York City, NY; two step-granddaughters: Blair Jones of Los Angeles, CA & Corinne Jones of Madison, WI; three great-grandchildren: Reece, Jace & Wyatt Seyler; and a sister: Anita Larson of Fargo, ND. He was preceded in death by his parents: Anton & Lena Peterson; siblings: George Peterson, Clarence Peterson, Mildred Odegaard, Wilbur Peterson & Albert Peterson; and his wife: Alma.
In keeping with Harold's spirit of generosity, in lieu of flowers, memorials to the Our Savior's Lutheran Church Radio Broadcast, The UMC Harold and Alma Peterson Endowment Scholarship, or the RiverView Health Foundation are preferred.
The funeral service for Harold O. Peterson will be held at 10:30 AM, Friday, January 4th, 2013 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Crookston, with the Rev. Steven Bohler officiating. Visitation will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston on Thursday from 5-7 PM, with a 7PM prayer service and also at the church for one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in the Eldred Cemetery at a later date.