James Wallace Petersen, age 73, was called back to his heavenly home on May 14, 2019 in Hillsboro, Oregon. This cowboy, lovingly referred to as “Grandpa Horse” by his grandchildren, peacefully crossed the river to the other side. His beloved wife of 48 years and children were gathered around him physically and spiritually as he left his physical limitations and soared on to a painless existence. His character of strength and true grit remained a part of him to his last day and is something that will be carried on through his posterity. He was a cowboy and a true ‘man's man’. When he spoke you listened. He proved to all of us that even through life’s greatest challenges, you shall overcome.
He is survived by his eternal companion, Myrna K Riding, and his eight Children: JUSTIN & Christie, KADE & April, Jason & JAN’L, Jason & TINILLE, AMBER, TYLER & Toni, ROBERT & Melanie, and Devin & SARAH...as well as 38 grandchildren and his mother, Rae Reid Petersen. He reunites on the other side with his father, Herald; his brother, Donald “Smiley”; and his sister, Shirley.
He was born on January 11, 1946 in Santa Monica, California, as the second child of Herald and Rae Petersen. In his early years, his family moved many times following his Dad’s business adventures to Delta, Utah; Estacada, Oregon; and Wells, Nevada. This included an ice cream store, a ranch, water well drilling and an A&W drive in. Jim was also a free spirit and a dreamer; he moved 46 times in his lifetime. He had many chances to learn the value of hard work at a young age and throughout his life he continued the work of water well drilling started by his grandfather, Joseph Clifford.
After Jim graduated from Delta High School, he moved to Pasadena, California. While living there, three men were very influential in helping him to change the course of his life; Clarion Oakley, Lee Pett, and Wallace Reid. Our eternal gratitude goes to these three men that were placed in his life right at the time he needed them. He never forgot their kindness and unconditional love. With their help he put in papers for a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was called to serve in the Florida Mission field. “When you are on a mission reality sets in and you realize a person needs to change on the inside, not just on the outside, which was hard for a rough guy like me…”
He was a true patriot and in July of 1968 he was recruited to serve with Uncle Sam in the US Army. With a love for his country he served honorably in the army as a Mighty Buck Sergeant. He was always proud of his service. After being honorably discharged for a family hardship, he returned home to help his father continue the family business.
In 1970, Jim met the one and only Myrna, his eternal companion. They were married on August 21. He loved and adored her every day of the 48 years they spent together. He always made her laugh through incessantly teasing, breaking out in song or dance, making funny faces, speaking in his own made up language and laughing at his own jokes. No matter how hard it became, he never lost his laugh. He knew how to live and he knew how to love. He understood the importance of bringing joy to their marriage through all of his silly antics. He was a very loyal and loving husband who was the center of Myrna’s life. He lovingly nicknamed her “Mimi”. She was honored to serve him and be his best friend. They fulfilled a lifelong dream of travel and adventure by selling their home, taking a risk and living in an RV for 2 years. During this time they visited all their children, saw wonderful sights, and grew even closer.
During their marriage they had the honor of raising 8 children and he was their constant source of joy, laughter, and love. He found happiness in all things sweet, innocent and pure, especially his kids, their spouses, and his grandkids, who he valued more than anything else in his life. Through his example, he taught them to reach out to the lonely or forgotten and show acceptance and love to those suffering in sorrow or sin, offering them hope and an embracing arm of friendship. He was a valiant disciple of Christ and had a deep testimony and belief in his Heavenly Father. He left to his children a legacy of love for his Savior, Jesus Christ. This loving patriarch served faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a young missionary in Florida, a Bishop and High Councilman in Cedar City, Utah, a senior missionary in Wyoming, and as a temple ordinance worker in the St. George Utah Temple. He especially loved his calling as a Gospel Doctrine teacher, and would spend many hours preparing his lessons. On his last day, the heavens opened their arms to this mighty modern day hero; with a ‘thumbs up’ to the nurse and a whispered ‘I love you’ to his family he passed the bounds of this mortal realm having endured faithfully to the end and has commenced his work spreading the gospel.
Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, May 21, at 11 AM, at the Mountain View Ward, 370 N 4050 W, Cedar City. Friends may call 10:00-10:40 prior to the service. Burial will be in the Oasis Utah Cemetery at 4:30 PM.