Rev. John A. Petersen, 93, a man of letters and compassionate pastor, passed away on January 29 from complications of old age.
Petersen was born in Redlands, Calif., where he attended Redlands Christian Grade School and Redlands Public High School. He taught grade school and high school before entering Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1949.
Petersen served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Bethel CRC, Sun Valley, Calif.; First CRC, Mount Vernon, Wash.; Second CRC, Grand Haven, Mich.; North Haledon (N.J.) CRC; Bozeman (Mont.) CRC; and Oak Harbor (Wash.) CRC. He retired in l984.
Petersen was a lover of poetry and a poet himself. Theologically well-versed, he had a fondness for and understanding of Barthian theology. A man of sympathy, humor, and ready laughter, he saw the positive side of life. His parishioners were drawn to him and saw in him a model of the Christian life.
He filled the role of toastmaster at many church social functions. He and his wife instilled in their children a love of the arts and music as well as an appreciation of national parks and nature in general.
Following his retirement, the Petersens blessed the members of Modesto (Calif.) CRC with pastoral care.
Petersen’s wife, Suzanne, preceded him in death in 2006. He is survived by their children: Karl and Lisa (Balick) Petersen, Phil and Eileen (Klop) Petersen, Margaret Petersen and Ted Priola, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.