Bruce Milton Peterson, age 82, of Cokato, left this world peacefully Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, at the Cokato Manor, embraced by his family.
He was born Nov. 14, 1932, in Cokato, to Richard Milton and Portia Hazel (Martin) Peterson.
Bruce’s childhood adventures included Boy Scouts of America, camping at Lake Sylvia, and an ocean liner trip to France for a Boy Scout Jamboree. Photography was a hobby, and Bruce would take, develop, and print photos. The darkroom was the basement of the family’s home.
Bruce spent a few summers tellering at the State Bank of Cokato, the “family business.” After graduation from Cokato High School, he attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, where he achieved a degree in business management.
Bruce tried football, but the Gusties and opposing teams were mostly made up of Korean War vets, and he got his nose broken. So, instead, he became the official photographer for his team.
Following college, Bruce worked for a company that designed and printed high school annuals, until he was drafted into the US Army. After basic training, he was stationed in Germany, with a six-week post in Lebanon, where he learned to hate olives and ham. (He was “Radar” for a MASH unit.)
When the two-year stint in the service ended, Bruce worked as a cost estimator for a direct mail advertising company in Minneapolis.
He married Lee Kotter Oct. 31, 1959, at Morningside Congregational Church, outside Minneapolis.
When Richard Peterson was nearing retirement, Bruce decided to return to Cokato and rejoin the banking business. Under his guidance, the bank grew, and moved into a larger building just across the street from the old bank.
In his early 30s, Bruce was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which progressed over time, but he never complained.,
Bruce spent several years as a member of the Wright County Parks Board. He was instrumental in the creation of Collinwood, Mud Lake, Stanley Eddy, Albright Mills, Humphrey-Arends, and Ney parks, and more.
With Wyman Nelson and others, Bruce helped establish Cokato Manor as a non-profit facility. He was not inclined to boasting, but if pressed, he might say those were some pretty good things to be involved in.
Bruce loved all things Wright County, especially Cokato.
He was a member of the Cokato Dassel Rotary for many years, and peeled a lot of potatoes for the annual lutefisk dinner.
A year or so before he retired, Bruce found a new hobby: Norwegian flat plane figure carving. He spent many happy hours “releasing” a Santa Claus from a block of basswood.
Summers, he could be found on any of several mowers, mowing ‘round the tree farm at the south edge of town.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Charles Richard Peterson of Brookings, SD.
Treasuring countless memories are his wife, Lee; son Dale Richard of Minneapolis; daughter Brenda Linzbach (Matt); granddaughters Rachel Linzbach and Melanie Linzbach of Buffalo; sister-in-law Carol Jean Peterson of Brookings, SD; Gordon Anderson of Cokato, and Walter Nachtigall III of Minneapolis; and so many others whose life he influenced.
An outdoor family celebration is planned for September in celebration of Bruce’s life.