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LeRoy E. Petersen

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 9:15 a.m. CDT

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WILMINGTON, Ill. — Ret. Lt. Commander LeRoy Edward Petersen, USN, 82, of Wilmington, Ill., and formerly of Elwood, Ill., passed away Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.

Born July 19, 1931, in Elwood, Ed was a son of the late LeRoy H. and Florence F. Dallavia-Petersen. He was educated through the eighth grade in the Elwood schools and graduated from Joliet Township High School with the Class of 1949.

Ed honorably served in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict, Cuban Crisis and Vietnam Era. Prior to his permanent retirement from the United States Navy on July 1, 1974, Ed’s responsibilities included being a Guided Missile Test Officer, Aeronautical Engineer, Aviation Safety Officer, Director of Safety, Aircraft Organizational Maintenance Officer, Superintendent of Maintenance, Security Officer of Shore Activity, Heave Attack Pilot, Computer Systems Analyst and Coordinator of Computer Programming. He earned an Air Medal (9 Strike/Flight Awards), Cross of Gallantry for Air, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal (1 Star), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea; Cuba), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device (1960), and Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars.

Ed’s education included Managerial Economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.; Airplane Pilot Education at California Lutheran College in Point Magu, Calif.; and he completed his Master’s Degree at LaVerne College in LaVerne, Calif.

Following his retirement and honorable discharge, Ed went on to sell life insurance for New York Life. On Dec. 26, 1952, Ed married Margaret Arnstrom and she preceded him in death on Nov. 19, 1979. He later married Jean Spink (nee Cupples) on June 24, 1989, and she survives.

Ed attended Grace Lutheran Church in Wilmington, and will be remembered for his love of golf, traveling and crossword puzzles.

Survivors include his wife, Jean; four children, Paul Petersen of Santee, Calif., Thomas Petersen of Mission Viejo, Calif., Mollie Petersen of Meridian, Idaho, and Martha (Lindsey) Adams of Somis, Calif.; three stepchildren, Becky (Don) Larson of Wilmington, Karen (Ken) Hazelrigg of Limestone, Ill., and Brenda (Lynn) Fallon of Danville, Calif.; grandchildren Paul (Annette) Petersen Jr., Kevon Petersen, Blair Petersen, Cooper Adams, Chase Adams, Damon (Nicole) Puracchio, Kyle Puracchio, Sara Hazelrigg-Nielsen, Todd Hazelrigg, Ellise Fallon, Eric Fallon, Donnie (Becky) Larson Jr. and Mike (Cheryl) Larson; 16 great-grandchildren; one brother, Robert (Pat) Petersen of Cocoa Beach, Fla.; two sisters-in-law, Betty Blatt of Elwood and Ruth Smith of Wilmington; and numerous nieces and nephews. Ed was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Margaret; and one sister, Joan Menozi.

Visitation and video tribute will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Freitag-Reeves & Baskerville Funeral Home, 700 East Kahler Road, Wilmington. Funeral services will follow at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, in the funeral home.

Burial with full military honors will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Wilmington, where Ed will be laid to rest with his first wife, Margaret. Pallbearers will be Paul Petersen, Thomas Petersen, Paul Petersen Jr., Damon Puracchio, Kyle Puracchio and Eric Fallon.

Preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Ed’s memory to the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Manteno, one Veteran’s Drive, Manteno, Ill., 60950, or Grace Lutheran Church, 907 Luther Drive, Wilmington, Ill., 60481.

Friends may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences to the family by logging onto: www.FRBfuneral.com

Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Matthew R. Baskerville, CFSP. For additional information, call (815) 476-2181.

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