Donald Petersen (Coach Pete) | News, Sports, Jobs
Donald Petersen (Coach Pete) died of kidney failure on October 31, 2021 at IMC in Murray, UT at the age of 89. He was born in Fielding, UT on December 8, 1931 to Noble Rasmus and Donetta Hansen Petersen. He was the sixth of seven children. Fielding has been her home throughout her life. He grew up on their family farm and learned the value of hard work and play. He attended Fielding School where he was active on the traveling baseball and basketball teams. He was very fond of sports and enjoyed playing with many good friends. Besides sports, he loved to learn. Upon graduation from eighth grade, he was selected as a valedictorian and received a two dollar bill. He was excited to move on to high school where he was involved in football, basketball, track and field and baseball. He was also active in a group where he played the trumpet and baritone horns. A seminary graduate, he considers his teachers to be true models. Donald was a true Bear River bear because he immersed himself in learning, sports, music and of course… girls. He met and married his high school girlfriend, Eleanor Ballard, in the Logan LDS Temple on July 27, 1951. He cherished his Eleanor. They were soul mates. She passed away on September 4, 2019. He missed her very much.
Donald was able to attend the University of Utah on a full scholarship to play football. He graduated in physical and health education in 1954. He was hired by the Box Elder School District to teach and coach at Bear River High that same year. After his first season, he was called up to serve in the United States Army in Korea for two years where he obtained the rank of second lieutenant. His work at Bear River awaited him when he returned. Coach Pete has coached football and wrestling for 21 years. One of the highlights of his career was coaching a state championship wrestling team in 1966. He also coached baseball and golf. He has taught physiology, health, physical education, English, math, and American problems. Donald gave up training, but still remained in the game as the school’s athletic director. In 1985, he was named Utah’s Sports Director of the Year. He has remained an advocate for Bear River High’s athletic programs by helping to raise funds for campus improvement. He retired in 1990. Coach Pete was proud to be known as “Bear River Bear!” “
Donald loved life on the farm and wanted his family to love him too. He has often claimed that he owned the farm to raise his family. He involved them in all phases of the life of the farm. He weeded beets, hauled hay, irrigated and made repairs with his children to help them learn life lessons. He always reminded them of those hot and long days: “The good times are yet to come! He bought a small flock of Hampshire sheep when the family was young and these sheep, along with the farm, did a lot to teach his children life lessons. However, it was her example that ultimately showed her family what life they should be leading and what kind of people they should become.
Donald served in many civic and religious missions throughout his life. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as Bishop of Fielding Ward twice. He claimed he didn’t do it right the first time around, so he had to do it again. While bishop, he facilitated a temple project for Fielding Ward where nearly a dozen couples qualified to make temple covenants. He has also served as a counselor in the Bear River stake presidency. He was called upon to become a Scout Leader later in his life and found it to be a difficult but rewarding experience. He later received the Silver Beaver Award for his scouting contributions. He and his good wife, Eleanor, served as missionaries in the Utica mission in New York.
Donald loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren very much! Whether it was tractor rides, attending a sporting event, playing cards or receiving advice on life, it was always a joy to be with Grandpa Pete. He always had plenty of M&M and laughs to share.
He had a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of his Savior. It was shown by his every word and deed. At family gatherings, he used his stewardship as the patriarch of the family to share his love and testimony. This heirloom is one of his family’s most treasured gifts.
He has found great joy in being a husband, father, grandfather, coach and friend to so many people in this great community. He is survived by his children: Eldon (Susan) Petersen, Cynthia (Rex) Nessen, Ned (Gena) Petersen, Ted (Claudia) Petersen and Tom (Suzie) Petersen. His descendants numbered 17 grandchildren and 54 great grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife; one son, Brian Donald Petersen; his mother and father; her siblings, Rae (Garth) Rasmussen, Betty Jean Petersen, Caroline (Gordon) Jensen, Richard (Betty Jean) Petersen, Lois Elaine (Eugene) Christofferson and Louise Meade; granddaughter, Quinn Petersen; great-grandchildren, Zachary Petersen and Oakley Heaps.
All services will be held at Fielding Stake Center, 4375 W 15600 N Fielding, UT, 84311. Visitations will be on Sunday, November 7, 2021 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Monday, November 8, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. with the funeral to follow at 11 a.m. . The service will be broadcast live and can be found at www.ruddfuneralhome.com under its obituary, as well as its condolences online.
The family would like to thank the Fielding neighborhood for their compassionate service now and over the past few years. Dad loved his ward, his neighbors and his friends.