Ralph D. Peterson, 83

Ralph Dale Peterson, age 83, of Cokato, died Friday, April 4, 2014, at his home, with his family at his side.

He was born Nov. 19, 1930, to Oscar and Amanda (Henning) Peterson. Ralph attended Mound elementary and high school, graduating in 1948.

He married Joanne Nelson in 1951, at Cokato Evangelical Lutheran Church. For the first two years of their marriage, Ralph worked at his father’s farm near Delano.

Ralph served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955, and was stationed at Fort Meyers in Arlington, VA, where he was assigned highly classified duties in the Pentagon.

Following an honorable discharge from the Army, Ralph attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in economics.

Ralph and Joanne lived in Minneapolis, where he began a career in grocery store management, until 1964, when they moved to the Nelson family farm north of Cokato.

Along with his business career, Ralph was a lifelong farmer, and a DeKalb seed dealer for several years.

He served his community as a member of the Cokato Township board from 1979-1994. He also served on the Cokato Business Association, the Solid Waste Management Board, and as chairman of the 1976 Cokato Corn Carnival.

Ralph was a member of the church councils at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, and Cokato Evangelical Lutheran Church.

He is survived by his wife, Joanne; daughters LaDonna (Scotty) Wylie, and Cynthia (Daryl) Pischner; sons Alan Peterson (special friend Joan Breczinski), and Larry (Kris) Peterson; five grandchildren, Kari (Jeremy) Wylie Johnston, Joshua (Jody) Wylie, Jonathan Pischner, Katie Peterson, and Dean Peterson; and four great-grandchildren, Payton and Gracee Johnston and Tanner and Tyler Wylie.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law Vernie and Irene Nelson; brothers Lloyd, Earl, and Donald; infant sister Lorraine; sisters-in-law Mabel Peterson, Margaret Peterson, and Maejelle Nelson Nething; and brother-in-law Dean Nelson.

The funeral service took place Thursday, April 10 at 2 p.m. at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato. Interment with military honors followed at the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Cokato.

Visitation was Wednesday, April 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato, and continued Thursday, one hour prior to the services at the church.

Arrangements were by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Cokato; www.swansonpeterson.com.

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