Donald Peterson Obituary (1927-2021) – Rock Island, IL


Donald W. Peterson

November 2, 1927 – July 3, 2021

ROCK ISLAND-Donald W. Peterson, 93, of Rock Island, passed away on Saturday, July 3, 2021, at Clarissa Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf, Iowa.

A tour will take place on Friday, August 20 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home on Rock Island. A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, August 21 at 1:00 pm at St. James Lutheran Church on Rock Island. Commemorations can be donated in Don’s name to the Rock Island Rotary Foundation, the Augustana First Generation Fund, or St. James Lutheran Church on Rock Island.

Don was born on November 2, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Walter and Emily (Pierson) Peterson. He married Virginia Johnson on November 14, 1987.

Don graduated from Augustana College in 1951. He later received his PhD from the University of Chicago. He taught in the Augustana Education Department for 36 years and was chairman of the department for 27 years before retiring in 1993.

Community service was essential to Don. In the early 1970s he was elected to the Rock Island School Board. He later served on the board of directors of Quad Cities Red Cross and served on the Church Council of St. James. He was a member of the Rock Island Rotary for 54 years and served as president from 1989 to 1990.

He is dedicated to family and life. He loved teaching his kids and grandchildren to fish, and enjoyed making the family moan over his puns. He liked his dark chocolate and classical music and added his tenor voice to local choirs.

Those who treasure his memory include his wife, Virginia; Daughters and sons-in-law, Sara and Bradford Nelson, Wisconsin; Kristin and Timothy Marquardt, Alabama; five grandchildren and spouse; eleven great-grandchildren and exchange daughter Yoko Natsume, Japan.

His parents preceded him in death; Daughter Beth Peterson; Brother and Sister-in-Law, Rev. Raymond and Mary Ann Peterson.

Online condolences can be left at

Published by The Rock Island Dispatch Argus on July 11, 2021.

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