Arnold L. “Pete” Peterson, 93, of Wadsworth, died Tuesday, November 8, 2016. A son of Swedish immigrants, he was born September 10, 1923 in Wadsworth to the late Gustav and Thensie (Anderson) Peterson. After graduating from Wadsworth High School in 1942 he joined the U.S. Merchant Marine, sailing in harm’s way on Liberty Ships on North Atlantic Convoys, D-Day support, Mediterranean sailings, and Indian Ocean missions. Picking up a used botany book during the war, he became fascinated with plants and trees, shaping the rest of his life and career. Upon his graduation with a botany degree from Kent State in 1950, he served in the CIA as an analyst and worked as a carpenter. He joined Goodyear in 1952 and six years later was assigned to Goodyear’s rubber plantations in Indonesia, taking care of the trees and research activities, a role that he excelled at. He returned from Indonesia to Wadsworth in 1965 and used his research expertise to defeat crippling leaf blight in South America, earning a mention in the Encyclopedia Britannica. He traveled throughout Africa and Asia, discovering suitable conditions for rubber trees and frequently visiting all five of Goodyear’s plantations, always being the best “plant manager” he could be. He retired as a Research Associate from Goodyear in 1988, but continued to live up to the title. He was an avid reader of Science News, with an intellect that was only surpassed by his curiosity. His hobbies included stamp collecting, playing cards, “Farkle” games with his grandchildren, and walking the various parks in Medina County – identifying and monitoring the flora and fauna along the way. He was also a steady presence for years at the Durling Park tennis courts where several of his kids learned to play and compete, and where he also organized several local tennis events and tournaments.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two brothers Sven “Rick” Peterson and John “Art” Peterson.
Arnold is survived by his wife Jean (nee Clifford) and their six children, two of which were born in Indonesia: Eric (Holly) Peterson of IL; Jane (Bill) Allan of GA; Matt (Kay) Peterson of GA; Tod (Mandy) Peterson of Wadsworth; Jill (Terry) Young of Wadsworth; Dean (Lori) Peterson of WI; 10 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
A ceremony celebrating Arnold’s life will be held 2pm Saturday at the Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman St. Wadsworth.
The family will receive friends one hour prior from 1-2pm.
The family suggests memorial donations to the Medina County Parks District, 6364 Deerview Lane, Medina, OH 44256.