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LIVINGSTON - Ralph O. "R.O. Pete" Peterson, 80, lifelong Livingston resident, died suddenly at his home Sunday, May 11, 2003.

Cremation has taken place at Franzen-Davis Crematory. Memorial service will be 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home, 118 N. 3rd St. in Livingston. The Rev. Harlan Durgan of Livingston Congregational Church will officiate. Graveside committal with military honors and burial of the cremated remains will follow in Mountain View Cemetery.

Ralph was born June 20, 1922 in Livingston, the son of Swedish immigrants Oscar and Naomi (Stahlhandska) Peterson. He attended Livingston Schools, and after graduating from Park County High School, he worked as a fireman for Northern Pacific Railroad. In January of 1943, he entered the U. S. Army and served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII. Following his honorable discharge at the rank of sergeant in January 1946, he returned to Livingston and resumed his work with the railroad. He eventually became a highly respected locomotive engineer. On March 15, 1947, he married Margaret Chapman in Livingston. She preceded him in death Oct. 7, 1988.

After his retirement in 1981, he pursued his many interests and hobbies. He was a passionate fly-fisherman and bird watcher. As an accomplished handyman and carpenter, he created blue bird boxes, which grace many trees and posts throughout Montana. His handiwork is also visible at the family's cabin, which he built on Mission Creek and where he and his family spent many happy hours. He was an active member of the American Legion and was privileged many times to help provideÄ military honors at the burials of fellow veterans. Ralph was also a talented story teller and took great pleasure in reminiscing with family and friends.

He is survived by his two sons, David C. Peterson and his wife, Mary Lou Taylor of Boise, and Dean J. Peterson and his wife, Dorothy Beck Peterson of Missoula; four grandchildren, Erik Peterson, Ross Peterson, Elin Peterson and Hallie Seronko; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents.

If desired, memorials may be directed to the Montana Chapter of the National Audubon Society, P. O. Box 595, Helena, MT 59624, or to Livingston Depot Center, 200 W. Park St., Livingston, MT 59047.

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