Hans Robert Petersen


Hans Robert (Bob) Petersen journeyed from this life on January 26, 2016 at the Rainbow Hospice of Jefferson, Wisconsin.  He was born on September 14, 1924 in Belvidere, Illinois, but grew up in Capron, Illinois on a small farm owned by his parents, Hans and Nelsine, who had recently immigrated from Denmark.  After high school, he attended the University of Illinois to study engineering, but left to join the Navy where he was trained as a rescue pilot.  On leave during the war he was fixed up on a blind date with LaVerne Widell, a psychology student who had taken time off from school to work in a Rockford, Illinois war plant.  They married shortly afterward and spent the first years of married life in Corpus Christie, Texas (living in a converted Quonset hut that was actually a chicken coop in peace time) while Bob completed his naval training. When the war ended, he had hoped to continue a career in flying, but was called back to Capron to run the family farms.  During the slow winter months he worked as a carpenter in order to provide for his family, two girls and one boy.  He was active in the community, the Capron Lutheran Church, Lions Club, and sat for many years on the school board.  His love for flying never left, however, and his greatest pleasure was taking his family on trips in his Cessna airplane. Always a jokester, he would sometimes do a “Sky King” maneuver in the sky, veering sharply downward on one wing, to the delight of his children, and the horror of his wife.  He moved from Capron in 1968 to Delavan lake, Wisconsin, to pursue a career as a general contractor, a profession he held until retirement.  Living on the lake gave him an opportunity to swim daily during the warm months, a hobby he enjoyed through his 90th birthday.  He was a voracious reader, consuming bags of books each week from the public library, and never cared much for television except to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy each evening (getting most questions correct!).  He was a man of faith and integrity, always thinking of others first, nurturing lifelong friendships, and taking the high road in life.

He was predeceased by his wife, LaVerne Marie Widell Petersen, on February 17, 2014, his parents, Hans and Nelsine Petersen, his sister, Marie Potter, and brother, Carl Potter. He is survived by his three children, Marianne Petersen of New Albany, Indiana, Charles Petersen (Jane) of Lyndon Station, Wisconsin, and Betsy Wakefield (Ted) of Vermilion, Ohio, grandchildren, Timothy Still, Samantha Petersen, Jacob Petersen, Jeremy Hilton and Jennifer Hilton, plus nieces and nephews, Jack Potter (Bill), JoAnn Riggle (Bob), Jenice Rada (Phil), Jean Kelly(Ray), Tom Lawson( Carol), and Ron Lawson.

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