HANCOCK - Raymond C. A. Peterson, 91, a resident of the Houghton County Medical Care Facility, passed away on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Ray was the son of the late Oscar and Mary Peterson of Calumet. He was born on September 10, 1922, in Painesdale where he spent part of his youth while his father worked in the mines. The family later settled in Calumet where Ray graduated from Calumet High School in 1940.
Ray was a senior member of the Daily Mining Gazette's editorial staff and retired in 1984 after 35 years. He first joined the Gazette in 1941, as a proof reader with the evening News-Journal in Calumet and remained there until the Gazette consolidated its evening and morning newspapers in 1943. He then worked as a caretaker at the Calumet Golf Course, cutting fairways with a push mower where he also developed a love for the game. Ray attended Suomi College on a Gazette scholarship, but still remained a part-time writer for the Calumet Gazette office. In 1951, Ray rejoined the Gazette staff as a full-time news reporter. His work consisted of very long hours of writing and gathering news, having to attend two Village Council and Chamber of Commerce meetings in the Calumet-Laurium area, in addition to covering baseball, basketball, football and hockey games, and various activities of two school systems. His work took him on assignments as far away as West Point, New York and Canada. Ray's work assignments also included writing obituaries. Some readers may also remember reading his "Pete Sez" columns in the newspaper.
Ray's friends would tease that he was far too busy to ever get married, but he proved them wrong. In 1967, he married the former, Lynda Nikkinen of Hancock and celebrated 43 years together prior to her passing in 2010. Ray was a devout Christian who also taught Sunday school and served as Board Secretary for the Zion Apostolic Lutheran Church and the Laurium Elders Home. Ray also drove hearse part-time for many years for Dave Jukuri and Ron Antila at the Jukuri-Antila Funeral Home in Hancock.
Ray never went anywhere without a camera or two, and delighted in always adding to his extensive camera collection. He loved the Copper Country and enjoyed photographing it's people and it's history. Ray appeared in the Keweenaw Centennial parade dressed as a prospector accompanied by a donkey much to the delight of parade goers, and during his retirement, appeared in almost every local Fourth of July parade dressed as a miner wearing his father's original mining clothes, carbide hat and lunch pail. He always enjoyed growing a long beard for these occasions much to his wife's dismay. Ray also enjoyed being a grandfather and forged a strong relationship with each of his four grandchildren, Kristine, Lisa, Amy and Ryan. He would tell them that his secret to living a long, healthy life was to eat a lot of fresh garlic.
Ray was a very kind, humble and generous individual who touched the lives of many. His deep faith and sense of loyalty to those he knew and loved were core to his being.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lynda; his parents, Oscar and Mary Peterson; and by his siblings, Reuben Peterson, Ruth Scharbatz and Ruby West.
He is survived by his two step-children, Tom (Sue) Nikkinen and Marlene Kolvek of Wisconsin; a cousin, John (Dorothy) Pietala of Calumet; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Zion Lutheran Church in Hancock, with the Rev. Arvo Onermaa to officiate.
Visitation will be 1 hour prior to the service on Saturday in the church.
Spring burial will be in the Lakeside Cemetery in Hancock.
The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Zion Lutheran Church or Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly in the name of Raymond C.A. Peterson.
Arrangements are being handled by the Jukuri-Antila Funeral Home of Hancock, Antila Funeral Service, Inc.
Ray's obituary may be viewed and online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.