Robert Peterson

Obituary of Robert Peterson

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Robert Victor Peterson, 85, died at home on May 2nd, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Iris Peterson, son Eric Peterson (Annette), daughter Elicka Sparks (Maggie), grandchild Ashley Vrtis (David), and great-grandchild, Bryce Vrtis.

Born September 27, 1937, in Chapman, Kansas, Bob moved with his family to Paola, Kansas when he was two years old. Bob met his wife of 66 years shortly after that when they attended kindergarten together in Paola, and they married on July 1st, 1956, after graduating from Paola High School together. He attended Ottawa University, graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Biology, then went on to graduate from Virginia Tech with a Masters in Entomology in 1961. Following his graduation from VT, Bob was commissioned in the US Navy as a Medical Entomologist and served 20 years, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal for Exceptionally Meritorious Service. During his years of active duty, he was stationed on both coasts in the US and overseas in Okinawa and Naples, Italy. During his Navy career he also completed his PhD in Medical Entomology at Oklahoma State University in 1970. He retired as a Commander in 1981.

After retiring from the Navy, the family moved to Creve Coeur, Missouri where Bob worked for Monsanto. Later, he and Iris moved to Elk Grove, California, where Bob worked for the California Department of Food and Agriculture regulating pesticides. He then moved on to start a lab in partnership with two others testing for pesticide residue on food crops. In 1996, Bob and Iris retired again and moved to Holiday Island, Arkansas, where Bob felt called by God to go back to school as an undergraduate. He earned his Bachelor of Bible and Ministry at Ozark Christian College in 2003 and was ordained as a minister in the Christian Church. He went on to serve churches in Arkansas, Illinois, and Kansas. He then worked for Saint Louis Christian College before finally retiring in 2017. Teaching Bible study was one of his favorite things to do, and he did so until his passing. Bob enjoyed serving the Lord and his family. He also enjoyed golfing.

His final act of service was to donate his organs.

Visitation for Bob will be Wednesday, May 10th, at Austin and Barnes Funeral Home in Boone,

North Carolina from 10:00 to 11:00 am, funeral service at 11:00 am. A graveside service with military honors will follow at 2:00 pm at Mountain Home National Cemetery (53 Memorial Avenue, Mountain Home, Tennessee).

In lieu of flowers, donations to Ozark Christian College in memory of Bob would be appreciated.

Their mailing address is 1111 North Main Street, Joplin, Missouri 64801 or online at

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