Cleveland “Pete” Leslie Peterson
Cleveland Peterson, born 5 March 1922, passed away on 2 October 2021. He would have been 100 years in March next year.
Cleveland’s wife, Vernalea A. (Cary) Peterson preceded him in death in 2008. She is interned at Ft. Logan National Cemetery. His body will join hers on 26 October 2021 at 12:00pm. His son Glenn Leslie Peterson, preceded him in February 1958.
He is survived by his daughters, Jere Frisinger (Russ Frisinger) and Joann Peterson (David Addison). He has three grandchildren: Micah Frisinger (Heather), Dulcia Jerdan (Daniel) and Erik Wistrand. His great grandchildren are Olivia Frisinger, Elena Frisinger, Luke Frisinger, Ailish Jerdan, Ian Jerdan, Colin Jerdan, and Evan Jerdan.
Cleveland was born in Baudette, Minnesota to Cleveland and Rebecca Peterson. They had one sister for Cleveland, Thais Kofstad (Beno). Cleveland Sr. remarried after Rebecca passed away, to Agnes and had two more children, Norman Peterson and Gayle Peterson.
Cleveland told many stories of winters in Minnesota, in a time before reliable cars and the advent of ubiquitous telephones. He played high level ice hockey in high school. He attended one year at Concordia College.
During World War II, he left college and joined the US Army Air Corps (1941-1945). He was shipped to the China-Burma-India theater to serve for 3 years and became a sargent in charge of assembly and maintenance of aircraft at a base in Kurachi. He laughed that the pilots were always assured high quality work because they would have him ride with them on the plane’s first flight after assembly. He became known as Pete in the military and kept that name for many years.
Following WWII, he trained as an electrician, but decided to depart the north for warmer climes in Colorado. There he joined Western Electric and then transferred to Mountain Bell. The 1950’s saw a boom in the telecoms industry and he was based on Colorado’s western slope working in many small western towns throught Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.
Significantly, he met Vernalea Cary in Grand Junction, Colorado. She was a beautician and he a dashing ex-soldier. They married 1 September 1947. Even Vernalea called him “Pete.” After years of bouncing around Colorado towns on installation projects, he transferred to Denver with Mountain Bell.
In July 1952, they bought a house on Peterson Way, which had nothing to do with their name. Their first daughter, Jere was born the same month. He lived in that home until 2015. He nearly doubled the size of the home and constructed a garage, all on his own plans and under his own hammer and saw.
Joann was born in October 1958.
With Mountain Bell, Cleveland served as an engineer and supervisor when microwave communications developed across the western states facilitating the telecom system for the USA. In 1981, he retired from Mountain Bell.
During his lifetime Cleveland took up sports and executed them for a decade or so, until he became quite proficient. Besides ice hockey, he bowled, golfed, and skied (especially with his daughters).
Following retirement Cleve and Vernalea traveled to many states and countries. They visited Europe in the 1980’s. They did a round-the-world trip in the 1990’s.
He also became involved with a veterans group called C.B.I. (China, Burma, India). He served as an officer, including Commander of the Denver chapter.
He lived in his home on Peterson Way for 65 years, and then moved to the Courtyard at Lakewood in 2017, an independent living community.
He has always made friends in every location he found himself, and his humor sustained him through his life and endeared him to many.