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1937 Mahlon N. Peterson 2024

Mahlon N. Peterson

June 10, 1937 — April 29, 2024


Mahlon Neale Peterson of Livingston, MT died peacefully in his home with support from Enhabit Home Hospice and his wife next to him on April 29, 2024. He was 86 years old.

Mahlon was born on June 10, 1937, in Swedona, IL to Milton Theodore & Ferne Stromquist Peterson and raised on the family farm. From a young age he knew how to milk a cow, gather eggs and raise beef. Along with his older sister, Gloria Jean, he attended a one-room schoolhouse and graduated from Orion High School. He then worked on the Rock Island Railway before beginning Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. He went on to complete his Master's degree in Library Science at the University of Illinois. While in college he married Helga Jendrosch and had three children, Gigi, Kai and Nils. The marriage ended in divorce.

He began his librarian career at Lafayette College, PA, followed by Wartburg College in Iowa, and then for 15 years at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. His career was highlighted by building two new university libraries, one in Iowa and one in New York. While in New York he met Elaine Rangus Schmitz and they married in 1983. He took early retirement to follow her career to Washington and eventually to Montana in 1989. His work did not end upon retirement. He continued his translation of the philosopher Nicolai Hartmann from German. He also filled in at various library jobs. He raised cattle on Wall Rock Road and assisted his best friend in installing water systems on ranches in Park and Meagher Co.

His life was full of sports. A Chicago Cubs fan for 75 years, he himself also played softball wherever he lived, well into his sixties. Until his health declined in the last two years, Pete and Elaine loved to travel and twice lived abroad in New Zealand and in Croatia. They travelled overseas nearly twenty times, as well as visiting every state in the US except Alaska.

Mahlon (Pete) is survived by his wife Elaine Peterson, his sister Gloria Peterson Lawson (Rock Island, IL), his children Gigi A. Peterson (Cortland, NY), Kai I.  Peterson (Potsdam, NY), Nils I. Peterson (Canton, NY), and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Cremation has taken place at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home. A celebration of Mahlon's life will take place in the future.

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