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Fred Peterson

Fred Peterson

Friday, March 15th, 2019
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“I hope your rambles have been sweet
and your reveries spacious”
Emily Dickinson
Fred “Pete” Peterson, of Morrison, Colorado, passed away on March 15, 2019, at the
age of 85. As a teenager from Chicago on a cross-country road trip with friends, Pete
visited Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. As he gazed in wonder at the
majestic landscape before him, he dreamed of becoming a geologist. Life’s rambles
inevitably led him to realizing that youthful reverie. Pete led a fulfilling and joyful life as a
research geologist with the U. S. Geological Survey. He spent much of his career as a
field geologist among the mesas and canyons of the American southwest.
Born in 1933 in St. Johns, Michigan, to John and Anna (Kundl) Gwozdjak, Pete lost both
of his parents by the time he was three. He and his older sister were adopted by an aunt
and uncle, Leroy and Johanna Peterson, who gave him their last name. After growing
up in Chicago, Illinois, Pete moved to San Diego, California. Not long afterwards, he
was drafted and served two years in the U. S. Army, driving trucks in France. When he
returned home to San Diego, he qualified for the G. I. Bill and his aspiration to become
a geologist was now attainable. Pete remained forever grateful for this life-changing
opportunity. He attended San Diego State University and then obtained his doctorate in
geology at Stanford University. As a geologist with the U. S. Geological Survey in
Denver, Pete pursued field studies for several months each year for many decades,
through which he acquired a reputation for his expertise in the geology of the Colorado
Plateau. He was highly respected for his knowledge, passion and dedication.
Throughout, he was also a mentor to younger geologists and graciously shared his
knowledge and insights to help others.

Pete married Christine (Turner), also a geologist, in 1976, and together they created a
lifetime of shared interests and happy memories. In addition to geology, they enjoyed
traveling, river rafting, camping, hiking, identifying wildflowers, and spending time with
friends and family. Pete also was passionate about singing and performing with the
Denver MountainAires Barbershop Chorus, with whom he enjoyed lasting friendships.
Pete is survived by his loving wife, Christine, and a step-brother, Wayne Peterson. He
was pre-deceased by his sister Wilma. Pete was admired by all who knew him for his
quiet, gentle, and kind nature. He was non-judgmental, accepting each person he met
for who they were. He frequently expressed gratitude for those who helped him along
the way and felt that he was fortunate to have lived a rich, full life that exceeded his
expectations. His happiest hours were spent among the scenic landscapes of the
Colorado Plateau and sleeping under the stars at night. He asked that his ashes be
scattered at Lee’s Ferry, the put-in for Grand Canyon rafting trips, so that he could take
one last trip down the Colorado River through the canyon country that he loved so

A memorial service for Fred (Pete) Peterson will be held at 3:00 on June 1, 2019, at the
Three Trees Chapel, 13416 W. Arbor Place, Littleton, Colorado 80127. In lieu of flowers,
memorial donations in memory of Pete may be made to favorite organizations of his:
the Denver MountainAires Barbershop Chorus (mountainaires.org), or the Colorado
Scientific Society (Donation checks may be mailed to Colorado Scientific Society, P.O.
Box 150495, Lakewood, CO 80215-0495, or donations may be made on-line at http://
coloscisoc.org/membership-payment/. One may donate to the Society without being a
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Service Details

  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, June 1st, 2019 | 3:00pm
    Saturday, June 1st, 2019 3:00pm
    Three Trees Chapel
    Address Not Available
  • Reception

    Saturday, June 1st, 2019 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Saturday, June 1st, 2019 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Three Trees Chapel
    Address Not Available


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