Donald Petersen (Coach Pete) passed away from 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 his home throughout his entire life. He was raised on their family farm and learned the value of work and play. He attended Fielding School where he was active in playing on the traveling baseball and basketball teams. He had a great love for sports and enjoyed playing with many good friends. Besides sports, he loved to learn. At his eighth-grade graduation, he was chosen as their class valedictorian and awarded a two-dollar bill. He was excited to move on to high school where he was involved in football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was also active in band where he played the trumpet and baritone horns. He graduated from seminary, looking up to his instructors as real role models. Donald was a true Bear River Bear as he immersed himself in learning, sports, music, and of course… girls. He met and married his high school sweetheart, 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 greatly.
Donald was able to attend the University of Utah with a full ride scholarship to play football. He majored in Physical Education and Health graduating in 1954. He was hired by Box Elder School District to teach and coach at Bear River High that same year. After his first season, he was called to serve in the United States Army in Korea for two years where he earned the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. His job at Bear River was waiting for him when he returned. Coach Pete coached football and wrestling for 21 years. One of his career highlights was coaching a state championship wrestling team in 1966. He also coached baseball and golf. He taught physiology, health, physical education, English, math, and American problems. Donald gave up coaching, but still stayed in the game as the Athletic Director for the school. In 1985 he was named the Utah Athletic Director of the Year. He remained an advocate for the athletic programs of Bear River High by helping to raise funds for improvements to the campus. He retired in 1990. Coach Pete was proud to be known as a “Bear River Bear!”
Donald loved farm life and wanted his family to love it, too. He often claimed he had the farm to raise his family. He involved them in all phases of farm life. He hoed beets, hauled hay, irrigated, and made repairs with his children to help them learn the lessons of life. He would always remind them on those hot and long days, “Good times are a com’in!” He purchased a small flock of Hampshire sheep while the family was young and those sheep, along with the farm, did much to teach his kids life lessons. However, it was his example that ultimately showed his family the lives they should lead and the type of people they should become.
Donald has served in many civic and church assignments through-out his life. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as Bishop of the Fielding Ward twice. He claimed he didn’t get it right the first time so he had to do it again. While Bishop, he facilitated a Project Temple for the Fielding Ward where near a dozen couples were able to qualify to make temple covenants. He also served as a counselor in the Bear River Stake Presidency. He was called to be scoutmaster later in his life and found that to be a challenging, 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 New York Mission.
Donald loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren dearly! Whether it was tractor rides, attending a sporting event, playing cards, or getting advice on life, it was always a joy to be with Grandpa Pete. He always had plenty of M&M’s and laughs to share.
He had a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Savior. It showed by his every word and deed. At family gatherings he took the opportunity to use his stewardship as family patriarch to share his love and testimony. This legacy is one of his family’s most cherished gifts.
He found great joy in being a husband, father, grandfather, coach and friend to so many 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 posterity includes 17 grandchildren and 54 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife; a son, Brian Donald Petersen; his mother and father; his 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 the Fielding Stake Center, 4375 W 15600 N Fielding, UT, 84311. Viewings will be held on Sunday November 7, 2021, from 5-7pm and on Monday November 8, 2021, from 9-10:30am with the funeral to follow at 11am. The service will be livestreamed and may be accessed below.
The family wishes to thank the Fielding Ward for their compassionate service at this time and over the past several years. Dad loved his ward, neighbors and friends.