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George Emil Peterson

George Emil Peterson, age 88, of Cokato, died Tuesday, May 13, 2008, at Hutchinson Community Hospital after months of kidney failure.

Funeral service is today, May 19, at 2 p.m. at Elim Mission Church in Cokato, with Pastor Wally Glucklich and the Rev. John Peterson officiating. Music will be provided by Vicky Neighbors and Larry and Nancy Wasmund. Interment will be at Cokato City Cemetery.

Casket bearers are Elroy Dahlin, Dennis Doering, Tom Keaveney, Ty Knoff, Dennis Lundeen, Chuck Ortquist, Bruce Martinson, Jim Martinson, and John Martinson.

Visitation was Sunday, May 18 at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato from 4 to 8 p.m., and will continue today, one hour prior to the funeral service at the church.

George was born Oct. 27, 1919, on a farm northwest of Cokato to Edward E. and Annie (Fredrickson) Peterson, one of 10 children in the family. He was baptized and confirmed at North Crow River Lutheran Church, rural Cokato.

George attended Ojanpera Country School, graduated from Cokato High School in 1937, and from the University of Minnesota with a degree in mortuary science in 1948.

Between 1937 and 1942, George was employed by Swanson Furniture & Funeral Home.

He was sworn into the US Army in 1942, spending 44 months serving his country. George served 26 months in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippine Islands. One of five brothers serving overseas, he had a three-brother reunion in New Guinea and one in the Philippines. George was awarded two battle stars, and was honorably discharged in January of 1946.

In the fall of 1946, upon returning from the service, George enrolled in the University of Minnesota mortuary science program.

A week after graduation from the university, June 26, 1948, George was united in marriage to his sweetheart of 10 years, Violet Martinson. The couple made their home in an apartment above the funeral home, and George resumed his employment there.

In 1957, George became a partner in the firm; and in 1973, when his partner, Carl Swanson, wanted to retire, George became the sole owner. In 1988, George’s son, Mark, purchased the firm. George was employed by Mark until ill health forced his retirement at the age of 85. George was fortunate enough to see his grandson, Greg, join the firm in 2007.

The Petersons were blessed with the adoption of son, Mark, and daughter, Elizabeth Ann. It was a tremendous joy to love and nurture them. Mark followed in his father’s footsteps and became a mortician, and Elizabeth received her doctor’s degree in philosophy.

George was active in his church, Elim Mission Church, serving in many positions, and as a member of the choir for over 30 years.

He was very community-oriented and civic-minded. George was a member of the Cokato Chamber of Commerce, serving as president for two years; the American Legion, where he was commander several times; in the Dassel-Cokato Rotary, being a charter member, serving as president and holding other positions; and a charter member of the Cokato Gideons, serving as president for several years.

George was president of Minnesota Funeral Association District 8, and also served as a director of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association.

He worked on Cokato Corn Carnival committees since its inception in 1950. George was one of the original organizers of the Cokato Community Chest, and a director for many years. He was also a member of the Howard Lake Business Association, and enjoyed having coffee at the antique store with his Howard Lake buddies.

George made a commitment early in life to serve his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ in all he did, whether it was in the community-at-large or with the families he was privileged to serve these many years. In his many talks to groups over the years, he never failed to give his loving wife and companion credit for the many successes that came his way.

George is survived by his wife of 59 years, Violet, of Cokato; son Mark (Marilyn) Peterson of Cokato; daughter Dr. Elizabeth (Hal Davis) Peterson of Minneapolis; grandson Greg Peterson (fiancée Amber Artzer) of Cokato; granddaughter Brooke Peterson of Cokato; and many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters, Grace, Pearl, Viola, and Ruby; and five brothers, Stanley, Clyde, Carlton, Edward, and Gustav.

Arrangements are by the Swanson Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.