Ludwig "Pete" Austin Petersen, 93, passed away on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at his home, surrounded by those who loved him. Pete, a longtime resident of Dane County, will be remembered for his quick wit, sharp intellect, generous giving, charming personality and loving spirit.
Pete was born to Lawrence and Thela (Johns) Petersen on November 7, 1919, in Des Moines, IA. Upon graduation, he attended UW-Whitewater and earned a B.S. in Geography Education and a M.A. in Education Administration. He enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in August 1943 and served his country in both the Pacific and Atlantic Theaters during World War II. Upon his discharge from the service, he went on to have an exemplary career in Education. Pete was a teacher and principal for several years, and ultimately served as Superintendent of Schools for the Melrose, Portage and Fond du Lac school districts. During the final 15 years of his distinguished career, Pete worked for the Department of Public Instruction, first as an Administrator of the Cooperative Educational Services Agency (CESA) and, finally, as the Supervisor of CESA's. His impact on the state's educational system has been everlasting.
On February 17, 1972, Pete married his soul mate, Adele McConahey, who, like himself, was an accomplished musician. They met at a music store, where Adele was playing a song on a piano. With his classic charm, Pete sat down at another piano and joined in, starting a duet that would last more than 40 years. For more than four decades, they shared a life filled with love, laughter, music, golf, travel, card games and countless close friends.
Pete loved his family and friends, and was loved in return. While our world has lost a true friend and gentleman, we are better people for having had him in our lives. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten by all who had the privilege of knowing him. His spirit will live on through our shared stories, laughter and memories of a beautiful life richly and fully lived.
Pete was predeceased by parents; first wife, Kathryn; son, Rodney; and brother, John. He is survived by his wife Adele; sons, Donald of Milwaukee, and Brian (Linda) of Fond du Lac; daughters Kristen Seidner of Netanya, Israel, and Karla (Fran) Allas of Alta Loma, CA; sisters Mary (Robert) DeSalvo of Park Ridge, IL, and Palma (Robert) Carlaw of Bremerton, WA; dear friends Bernie and Jane Powers and family, and Bill and June Egstad and family; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Pete was deeply grateful for the dignified care he received from the staff at Oak Park Place, his home for the past several years.
A Celebration of Pete's Life will be held Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm at Cress Funeral Home, 1310 Emerald terrace, Sun Prairie with Rev. Dr. David Berggren officiating. A visitation will be held from 2:00 pm until time of service.