Terry William Petersen was born on August 23, 1948 in Wadena, Minnesota and died on May 4, 2019 at his home in Spring, Texas at 10:30 a.m. Terry’s parents, William F. Petersen and Mary Lou DeLapp Petersen, preceded him in death.
Terry is survived by his wife of 41 years, Audrey Erickson Johns Petersen, his daughter, Rita Rice, (Bryan), Weatherford, Texas, 4 step sons, Quentin Johns, Henning, Minnesota, James Johns, (Ann), Macclenny, Florida, Wade Johns, (Sandy), Roseau, Minnesota, and Jeff Johns, Sydney, Australia; sisters, Connie Neighbors, Kansas City, Missouri, Darlene Taylor (Mack), Bossier City, Louisiana, Kathyrn Ronning, Menahga, Minnesota, Gwen Wiebesick (Gene), Golden Valley; brothers, Tim Petersen (Anita), Verndale, Minnesota, Bryan Petersen (Shari) Menahga, Minnesota, and a large group of nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Terry was especially proud of Michelle Browning, Meagan Budzeak, Justin Johns, Beckett Rice and Nadya Johns because they played a huge active part in his life as grandkids. Terry was not the normal grandfather, as these young adults will testify.
Terry lived a very full life after graduating from Sebeka High School in 1966. His first huge life-step was his tour and service in Vietnam, going in as a draftee and coming out with bronze stars and staff sergeant stripes. Terry remained proud of his service to his country, returning home to Minnesota where he worked for A&E Thread out of Minneapolis. Eventually he married Audrey and started their life in Irving, Texas.
Before Terry and Audrey married, they lived together as Terry called a weekend breakfast conference to discuss them becoming a family. One of the boys suggested that “if we like you and you are peaceful we will marry you.” Therefore eventually Terry and Audrey married and this marriage was always considered a marriage of all 6 of them, Terry, Audrey and the four boys. Terry enjoyed introducing these boys to water skiing, fishing, swimming, hunting, changing their oil. He was very proud of them as they grew up and made their own life decisions. As friends looked at this obituary in the making they requested that the obituary needed to state that as they knew Terry and had private moments/conversations with him he always talked happily and proudly of his four stepsons but spoke of them as “his own.” To be approached and reminded by friends that Terry was so proud of Quentin, Jamey, Wade and Jeff made it obvious how much Terry had enjoyed his part in the lives of these boys as they grew into men.
In Irving, Terry achieved his Associates Degree, created, owned and operated Irving Paint and Body, was very active in the AMBUCS Club, and in the VFW post in Arlington, TX, never moving his lifetime membership from Wadena Post 3922. Terry had a restless spirit; thereby getting a Captain’s Boating License in Galveston, Texas and re-locating to Hawaii in the ’80s where he owned and operated Dream Maker Charters. He also owned and ran a small used appliance business. In the midst of all his ventures, Terry loved singing karaoke and was well known in Honolulu and at Waianae Rest Camp for his Johnny Cash contributions. At the rest camp he had a nickname, Twinkle Toes, for dancing in flip flops, especially the polka! Terry was always smiling, always cheerful, always searching for one more adventure. The last adventure he had with Captain’s 1st Mate, Audrey, was managing a UHaul facility at Greenspoint in Houston, Texas.
To know Terry Petersen was to know a cheerful, positive-thinking man who always wanted to give joy and fun to the family and friends that he loved. Sadly, Terry suffered secretly from PTSD and would not really want me to share that, but I do because to live the life he lived and carry the burden of PTSD makes him a ‘hero’ to those who will now miss him. Terry’s family is committed to remembering him for all the many good times he provided and for keeping that grill hot and covered in hamburgers, steak and brisket.
Terry’s memorial service will be held on September 7, 2019 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 15 12th St., S.E., Menahga, Minnesota 56464. Pastor David Walsh will officiate. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m., service at 11:00 a.m., lunch at 12:00 and graveside military honors at 2:00 p.m. at Leaf River Cemetery, just north of Wadena.
Honorary Urn Bearers are: Randy Ronning, Corey Taylor, Zane Petersen, Derek Petersen, Adam Petersen, Evan Petersen, Jason Wiebesick, Bill Nutt, Quentin Johns, James Johns, Wade Johns, and Jeff Johns.
Military honors will be provided and coordinated by John Rebische, VFW Post 3922, Wadena. There will be a designated car to follow to the cemetery, announced after the service.
We will never forget you, Captain P, and the love and life we shared.
Cards can be sent to Audrey at 22811 Carter Gate Drive, Spring, Texas 77373.