Ron Peterson ~ Class of 1960
Departed ~ 12/1/2021
Lovingly submitted by Gordon Peterson Class of 1964
Ronald Keith Peterson
August 23, 1942 – December 1, 2021
Phoenix, AZ – It is with great sadness that the family of Ronald K. Peterson, aged 79, announces his passing after a brief battle and unexpected diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Ron died peacefully at his home in Phoenix on December 1, 2021, surrounded by his family.
Ron was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on August 23, 1942, son of the late Harold A. and Dona L. (Miller) Peterson. He was also predeceased by his son Thomas Peterson and Ron’s brother, Burton Peterson, and several aunts, uncles and cousins. Ron is survived by his loving wife Elsa (Weinrich), and a son Lars and his wife Jennifer, as well as the grandchildren, Morgan and Logan, and a brother Gordon and his wife Doreen, and several nieces and nephews.
Ron spent his early years growing up in Minnesota and South Dakota that included fishing and hunting with his dad and two brothers. After the death of his father, his mother remarried and the newly formed family moved with his brothers to Bangkok, Thailand. Two years later Ron graduated from the International School of Bangkok in 1960. This was followed by six years at the University of Minnesota where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology and a Master’s in Public Administration. Ron was selected for an internship with the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, where NASA delivered its most vital propulsion systems and hardware, flagship launch vehicles, world-class space systems, state-of-the-art engineering technologies and cutting-edge science and research projects. After his successful internship, Ron commenced a long career in the Federal government with NASA in Washington, D.C., during which he was immersed in high level budgetary matters during the Apollo program, which included meetings with Wernher Von Braun, NASA’s top rocket scientist and developer of the Saturn V rocket. The Apollo program was a massive national commitment by the United States to beat the Soviet Union in putting people on the Moon, which culminated in the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 flight and the first human walking on the Moon.
Ron continued the remainder of his career in 1971 as a Legislative Analyst and his continued rise as an Executive Service level employee in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Executive Office of the President of the United States, White House, Washington, D.C. Ron’s work included finalizing the written documentation for a myriad of U. S. Congressionally passed Bills that he prepared as written documentation in support of, or for a veto of the Bill, that were forwarded to the President of the United States for his signature. Ron’s career with OMB included serving with six Presidents to include Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush one, and Clinton. After 32 years, Ron retired from the Federal government in 1998. Both Ron and his wife Elsa moved to the community of Saddle Brooke near Tucson, Arizona, where they lived for approximately 22 years. In 2020, they moved to Phoenix, AZ, to be closer to his son’s family and their two grandchildren.
Anyone who knew Ron knew that he lived life to the fullest. His modest growing up in the mid-West, led to his creating a great life for himself, his family, and friends. The unfortunate death of his father in his pre-teen year and his mother remarrying in his early teens led to his living in Thailand and experiencing life during travel to many foreign locations in Asia, the middle-East, Europe, and Russia. These experiences help implant his appreciation for the United States and his desire to work hard for what he achieved in his life.
Ron was a great husband, father, brother, and friend to many. Ron’s family and many friends will deeply miss him.
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