Ron Peterson, 75, passed away following a brief struggle with cancer. A brother and friend to many, he was thoughtful and observant in demeanor and outstanding in pastoral practice and leadership. He was also a cherished husband, father, and grandfather.
Peterson attended Christian grade school and high school in Grand Rapids, Mich., and subsequently attended Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1961 and was ordained into ministry in the Christian Reformed Church.
Peterson’s ministry was amazingly varied. He served First CRC in Crown Point, Ind.; Goshen (Ind.) CRC; and Dearborn (Mich.) CRC.
In l976, the denominational Board of Home Missions presented him with a daunting challenge: Would he agree to serve as Home Missions’ director for the “Eastern Region,” a district that stretched from New England to Florida, with a wide variety of ministries? Peterson accepted the challenge and the family moved to Hawthorne, N.J.
Peterson soon established a helpful relationship with the pastors connected with these ministries. He acquired a firm grasp of the challenges and needs of these ministries, and for 16 years he gave this demanding ministry his all.
In 1992 he enrolled in the Blanton-Peale Institute as a student in the Marriage & Family Therapy Program. After graduation, he opened a private practice with the Cranford Center in Hawthorne, where his wonderful pastoral services were sought by those burdened by life’s cares. He provided counseling that bore rich fruit.
In l998 Peterson and his family moved back to Grand Rapids. He became the classical care coordinator of Classis South of the Reformed Church in America. Pastors of that region testify that his ministry not only provided help and encouragement to them personally but added greatly to their mutual relationships.
Beginning in l999, he served Hope Reformed Church of Grand Rapids for nearly seven years, while also assuming specific ministry duties in the Church of the Servant CRC, where he directed the Residency Program.
He also served as a board member for the Holland Home Association and the Calvin Alumni Association.
Peterson will be remembered for his reflective wisdom, tranquil strength, and Christ-like manner; he was as transparent as he was loving. He studied a lot, read a lot, understood and remembered a lot. That lent substance to his work and depth to his preaching. He handled adversity magnanimously. He loved music and sacred song. He enjoyed sports, was a fine tennis player and skier, and a successful fisherman.
Peterson is survived by his wife, Mary, and their children: Kristen and Jon Sucher, Jim and Mary Peterson, and Karen and Ed Caviasco, and nine grandchildren.