In Memory of James Peterson

May 9, 1940 - August 25, 2020

James Roger Peterson died on August 25, 2020 after a brief hospitalization for normal pressure hydrocephalus, at age 80.

James (Jim) was born in Albert Lea, MN on May 9, 1940, the seventh of nine children born to Norris and R. Louise Peterson.  Jim grew up enjoying all sports, and playing football and hockey at Albert Lea High School, where he graduated in 1958. Post high school, Jim attended Mankato State and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a B.S in business in 1964. Jim married Renee Johnson in 1960, and they had 2 children, Cheryl and Bryce. Jim moved the family to Deronda, Wisconsin in 1965, and has lived in the Amery area since that time. Divorced in 1978, Jim never remarried.  Jim worked in purchasing for Rosemount Engineering and Fabri-Tek and then owned and operated Big Jim’s Bait and Tackle on South Keller Avenue in Amery for seven years. Jim was an avid hunter and fisherman his whole life. He hunted grouse, pheasant, and partridge using Springer Spaniels (Ryp, Zyp, Molly, and Sally) that he trained himself using whistles, hand signals, and word commands. Jim also hunted deer with both bow and rifle, and racoons, bears, and bobcats using Black and Tan and Walker Hounds, dogs he also enjoyed training. Jim was considered a “dog whisperer,” often helping others with obedience training. He enjoyed all types of sports, fishing, archery, canoeing, and being in nature. He was part of the group who began the Amery Youth Hockey program. For five years, Jim worked as groundskeeper at the Amery Golf Course, and finished his work career back in purchasing at New Richmond Industries, and by managing Amery Plumbing & Heating. Favorite pastimes included painting, knife making and sharpening, playing cards, and grafting apple trees that will share his sweet and slightly tart legacy for years to come.  After achieving sobriety in 1977, Jim devoted much of the rest of his life to Alcoholics Anonymous, sponsoring many people. Jim was proud to have earned his pin for 43 years of sobriety, and not afraid to meet his maker. He spoke often of death as a normal part of life, citing the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…”  He will be remembered for his acceptance and welcoming of others, as the coffee pot was always on, and his door was always open.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Norris and Ragnild Louise (Skaug) Peterson, brothers, Edward Peterson and Clare Peterson, and sister Marjorie (Ken) Meyer, and brother-in-law Harlan Thone.  Jim is survived by sisters Ruth (Ed) Dworsky, Elizabeth (Ballard) Wright, Arlene Thone, Karen (Bob) Lohn and brother David Michael Peterson, as well as many nieces and nephews who knew his humor and competitive broomball gamesmanship. He is also survived by daughter Cheryl (Mike) Smoczyk of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and son, Bryce Peterson, of Beaverton, Oregon as well as three granddaughters, Jenna Smoczyk, of St. Thomas US Virgin Islands, Jordan Smoczyk, of Reno, Nevada, and Amber Smoczyk, of New York, New York, who inherited and cherished Jim’s love of learning, respect for interrogation of generally accepted thought and action, and desire to encourage friends and community to be true to oneself despite and in spite of societal norms and external pressures.

An outdoor Celebration of Jim’s Life will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020 from 10am to noon at the Lion’s Pavilion in North Park, Amery, Wisconsin for those who want to share memories and a cup of coffee. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Amery Alano Society are preferred. 

Last Update: Aug 28, 2020 7:10 am CDT

Posted In


Share This Article