Robert “Bob” Michael Peterson was born on May 27, 1945, at Deaconess Hospital in Grand Forks, ND, to Leonora “Lee” and Theodore “Ted” Peterson. Bob was one of the "Magnificent Seven" group of Peterson cousins that grew up like brothers in Belmont Township. He attended school in Climax, MN, where he graduated in 1963. While in high school, Bob participated in many sports including football, basketball and baseball. He was a member of the Hillsboro, ND, baseball team that won the 1962 State Legion Baseball Championship. Bob attended Mayville State from 1963-64 and then attended the University of North Dakota-Ellendale where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1968. While in college, Bob participated in both intercollegiate wrestling and football.
Upon graduating from college, Bob joined the Peace Corps. He served in the Peace Corps from 1969-1972 in Sierra Leone where he was in teacher training at the Catholic Teacher College in Bo and also taught math and physical education at the Bo Government School. Bob loved sports and was always willing to try new things, he was a member of the BoTown Rugby club even though he had never played the sport before. It was also in Sierra Leone where Bob met Philomena “Philo” Michael. They married on December 28, 1971 in Bo, Sierra Leone.
In the fall of 1972, Bob started teaching the 6th grade at Climax-Shelly schools. Over the years, Bob coached multiple sports including track, boys and girls basketball, and football. He was very proud of having coached the 1980 District Championship Boys Track Team. Bob was responsible for coordinating fundraising and chaperoning many class trips to the state capitol over his tenure. In February of 1995, Bob took a medical retirement from teaching due to complications from diabetes.
Bob and Philo owned the Corner Bar in Climax, MN from 1978 to 1988, and have owned Springsteel Resort since 1984. Springsteel would become Bob's permanent home after his retirement.
In 1996, Bob received a kidney transplant at the Mayo Clinic. He has endured several medical hardships over the years, including multiple amputations, heart surgery, kidney failure and other diabetic complications. Through it all, Bob maintained a positive attitude and sense of humor. Anyone who knows him, will attest to his toughness and perseverance.
Bob wore many hats in his life, husband, teacher, coach, brother, and friend, but the role he was most proud of was that of father and grandfather. If you ever read one of Bob’s classic Christmas letters, it would not take you long to figure out that he was extremely proud of his grandchildren (the “ABC” boys and his sweet Adelle). He followed their sports, academics and other activities when able, trained them to be golf cart chauffeurs, and made sure there was an abundance of popsicles in the house.
Bob is survived by his wife, Philo of Warroad, MN, and his children: Eric of Fargo, ND; Lisa (Tim) Bottem of Thief River Falls, MN; Alex (Veronica) of Vestavia Hills, AL; Kent (Katie) of Warroad, MN, and Sean of Warroad, MN; his grandchildren Brendan & Colin Bottem of Thief River Falls, MN, and Allan, Adrian and Adelle Peterson of Vestavia Hills, AL. He is also survived by his brother Gary (Joan) Peterson of Fargo, ND, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and other family.
Bob was preceded in death by both his parents, his brother Kent, his father-in-law Joseph Michael and mother-in-law Emily Michael.
Bob died on May 26, 2020, one day short of his 75th birthday, at St. Mary’s hospital in Rochester, MN. The family is eternally grateful for the doctors and staff at the Mayo Clinic that were responsible for his treatment over the past 25+ years. Without them, he would not have been able to have enjoyed life as long as he did. He will be dearly missed. May his memory be blessed.
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