- About Us
Robert (Swede) M. PetersenSeptember 13, 1922 ~ February 8, 2017 (age 94)
On February 8, longtime Dannebrog businessman Robert M (Swede) Petersen's last wish came true when he passed from life on earth to eternity with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and beloved wife, Annie Pete. The son of Louie and Rose Petersen began life on September 13, 1922 in a Grand Island hospital, the fourth child of seven. He started at and graduated from the Dannebrog Public school system where he started on the basketball team. After graduation, he enrolled at Wheaton College in Chicago III. There, as an underclassman, he was part of a group of guys that detained Billy Graham (the evangelist) who was a senior and already a respected preacher, preventing him from participating in his graduation activities. A letter from the college to Louie and Rose was found amongst old papers informing them of Dad being placed on academic probation about this time as well. We're not sure which event led to the end of his formal education.
After school Dad enlisted in the Merchant Marine Service. He served aboard a troop transport ship ferrying troops across the North Atlantic to the war in Europe. Some of his stories of convoy life were incredible. Following the war, he married Anna Sophie Martens in a garden ceremony at Dannebrog on August 20, 1945 and they began their married life in Chicago. After working four years at Perfection Tool and Metal Heat Treating Company they moved back to Dannebrog where Dad joined Grandpa Louie in the operation of Petersen Lumber Co and they raised their family, Bobby, Betsy, Becky, and Billy.
Dad enjoyed life! He played a wicked game of ping pong with his left hand, loved swimming anywhere from the Loup River to the beaches of Jamaica, couldn't pass up a Lorie Line piano concert, bought four season tickets the first year of Bob Devaney’s coaching tenure and attended games as long he could drive to Lincoln, dining out with friends and family was a treat he never passed up. Dad loved his church and served as an adult Sunday School teacher (they called themselves The Crusaders), an Elder and a member of the choir.
While president of the Dannebrog school board Dad was one of the leaders in the consolidation of the Boelus, Cairo, and Dannebrog school districts to form District 100, the Centura Public school system. He served as the first board president in the new District and his face would light up whenever school was discussed.
Dad spent most of his life in the lumber and building business, something he thoroughly enjoyed. In his accomplishments were recognized by The Mid-America Lumberman’s Association when he was selected as the Associations "Lumber Dealer of the Year".
in closing, the picture that will come to most people's mind when Dad's name is mentioned is that of a white Ford pick-up driving in the passing lane of Highway 281 at about 40 miles per hour.
He was preceded in death by his wife Anna Sophie (Jan 30, 2011), brother Raymond, brothers and sisters in law Donald and Inez, Nelson and Albie, James and Jean, sister in law Lois (John) son in law Russell Rapier (Elizabeth).
He is survived by brother John of Florida, sister Helen of Arizona, sons Robert Jr. (Zonna), William (Marge), daughters Elizabeth, Rebecca (Mike), 10 grandkids and 19 great grandkids.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday at the First Baptist Church in Dannebrog. The Reverends Rob Pearson and Donnie Halbgewachs will officiate. Interment will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Dannebrog.
Visitation will be on Friday, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Family Center in Dannebrog.
Memorials are suggested to the First Baptist Church or the family’s choice.