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July 10, 2017

A memorial service to celebrate Douglas’s exceptional life is being planned and will be announced in August. Please send contact information for invitations to

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Age 91, passed away on July 10, 2017. He was born in April of 1926 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Swedish immigrant parents, Clara and Arvid Peterson where he was raised and educated. During WWII, he served in US Air Force in Greenland where he performed in a big band, playing trombone and entertaining his cohorts at the Service Club. Douglas went on to receive his BA at the University of Minnesota, followed by his MA at Yale University. In the late 1950’s, he moved to Kalamazoo and began his tenure at Kalamazoo College, as Professor of Education, 1957-1972, and then as the Dean of Academic Affairs 1967-1972. Douglas made the decision to achieve his law degree at the University of Michigan in 1974. Returning to Kalamazoo, he started his own law firm and practiced with Roger Kidston at Kidston-Peterson until 1981. Douglas changed firms to broaden his experience in the law of public corporations, schools, colleges and labor relations, eventually becoming partner in 1992 at Gemrich, Moser, Bowser, Fette where he remained until his retirement in 1997. Douglas also served on the Kalamazoo Country School Board and other community organizations including the American Cancer Society. Douglas then moved to Le Claire, Iowa in 1998 after his marriage to Dorothy Ruth “DR” Peterson, where he continued to be a very active member of the community, and was the driving force behind establishing a public library in Le Claire, of which he was very proud. He was active in city politics, and served on the Le Claire City Council. Douglas and DR returned to Kalamazoo in 2015 to be closer to family where they lived until his passing. Douglas Peterson was a loving father, was blessed with a brilliant mind, and lived his life with vigor and never-ending curiosity. He enjoyed many things, including tennis, traveling, reading a never-ending stream of books, joining in on an occasional round of golf, holding high the value of education, writing brilliant letters, singing with gusto in the church choir, yelling at John McEnroe during tennis matches, yard work and being outside, baking bread, a good game of cribbage, dogs of any sort, playing classical guitar and trombone, listening to Glenn Miller and Mozart, and so much more. Douglas will be missed deeply by everyone who loved him. He is survived by wife Dorothy Ruth “DR” Peterson; her children, Sarah, Andrew, Daniel and Paul (Julie) Humiston; daughter, Nathalie Peterson and Nathalie’s mother Genevieve Peterson; daughter, Cynthia Peterson; son, Nile (Karen) Peterson; their mother, Gretchen Peterson; grandchildren, Naya (Oliver) Fross, Spencer P. Brill, Arianna P. Brill, Dana Peterson, Hannah Peterson, Jessica (Matt) Molli and Katie (Mike) Siegel; great-grandchildren, Miro Fross, Ava and Adam Molli, Henry Siegel; nieces, Lucinda Murphy, Judy Murphy Edin, Barbara Tierney; a nephew, Hubert James Tierney Jr.; many other family and friends. Douglas was preceded in death by his parents Clara and Arvid Peterson; siblings, Lisa (Bill) Murphy and Saga (Hubert J.) Tierney.