Norman O. Peterson

Resided in Gladstone, MI
Died November 27, 2012

Gladstone, MI
Norman Olav Peterson, age 96, of Gladstone passed away Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the Christian Park Healthcare Center in Escanaba.

Norman was born May 17, 1916 at 711 Minnesota Avenue in Gladstone, the son of Ole and Irene Peterson. His father was a cement contractor, former city commission member and mayor twice. His mother was a fifth grade teacher in Gladstone.

Norman attended school in Gladstone, graduating in 1934. He was second in his class of 72 students and won second place in the U.P. Tennis Tournament in singles.

Following high school, Norman attended Northern Michigan University. He graduated in 1938 with a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in mathemathics and minors in Chemistry and Physics. He also played both singles and doubles in tennis for three years, while at N.M.U.
Norman started teaching in Gladstone during January of 1939 as a substitute. He was hired by Superintendent A. R. Watson in August for a position of Eighth Grade Mathematics. He left in May of 1942 for the United States Army. He attended the Illinois Institute of Technology for 9 months where he was in the Enlisted Reserves and studied radar, electronics and ultra high frequency techniques. He served in Missouri, Florida, and South Carolina. He was also sent overseas to New Guinea, the Philippine Islands and Japan. He rose to the rank of First Sargent and was captain of his company basketball team.

Following his discharge from the military, Norman tought G.I. students in Houghton for half a year. He returned to Gladstone in September of 1946 where he taught for the next 40 years and was the assistant basketball coach for four years and tennis coach for several years.

Norman went back to school, receiving a Master’s Degree in Education and Supervision from the University of Michigan in the summer of 1949. He also attended the Univeristy of Michigan for one more summer, Case University in Cleveland under a General Electric Fellowship, LaFayette University in Pennsylvania with a mathematics grant, Oberlin College in Ohio with a mathematics grant and Cornell University in New York with a scholarship from Shell Oil where Physics was studied.

Norman was united to marriage to Mary Lou (Farrell) Brown on December 20, 1980. She preceded him in death on August 30, 2000.

Norman was a member of the First Lutheran Church in Gladstone, where he served on the Church Council for five years and was vice chairman for one year. He also taught Sunday school and was in charge of the Fellowship Hall Committee when building a new church.

Norman was an avid golfer and a member of the Gladstone Golf Club for over 61 years. He served on the Board of Directors for six years and made 3 hole in ones, two in Gladstone.

He was a member of the Gladstone Masonic Lodge #396 for several years, serving as Worshipful Master in 1955. He also served as chairman of the Building Committee for 14 years.

Norman was also a member of the Michigan Education Association, life member of the National Education Association, was on the council of Region 17 of the MEA, and chairman of the 2 day conference in Marquette for all the teachers in the Upper Peninsula.

Norman is survived by his son, Nicholas Brown; daughter, Mary Pat (John) Gray and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents and an infant brother.

The family will recieve friends on Saturday, December 1 from 2:00 PM to 3:45 PM at the First Lutheran Church in Gladstone. Military Honors will be presented at 3:45 PM at the church by the Gladstone American Legion August Mattson Post 71. Funeral services will follow at 4:00 PM at the church with Rev. Jonathan Schmidt officiating. A luncheon will served in the fellowship hall immediately following the service. Norman will be laid to rest in the Fernwood Cemetery in Gladstone. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to First Bank in Gladstone, where a scholarship fund will be established in Norman’s name.

13 Tributes for “Norman O. Peterson

    I have many fond memories of Mr. Peterson, from the halls of Gladstone High School to Minnesota Avenue where he was a wonderful neighbor while I grew up in Gladstone. I will always remember his warm smile and his quick wit whenever we spoke. Rest in peace, sir.

    When I read that Mr. Peterson had died, I could see and hear him in the classroom like it was yesterday ( and, in fact, it’s been 43 years!) He was an excellent teacher who not only cared about his students, but also LOVED to share his vast knowledge. He was so respected, and maybe a little bit feared, not because of anything he did, but because he was so immensely intelligent. Gladstone was very blessed indeed to have him teaching in the high school ! May he rest in peace. Kristen Olson Lahner, GHS Class of 1969.

    What a great teacher and Coach. I am sorry I did not visit Mr. Peterson when he was in Christian Park, My Loss. What a great story teller, so much Gladstone history that was untapped. This guy should be in the Gladstone Sports hall of fame. Norm was a good friend of my family and was a roommate of my uncle at Michigan Tech after the War. He will be missed. I know he made an impact on my life. So long Mr. Peterson.

    I never really thought of it before but Norm (we called him Normie behind his back) is probably the reason I became an engineer. I’m sure he inspired many GHS students to go into scientific fields. What a legacy! I’m not sure he ever got through to Willy Everlearn though.

    Norman was not only one of my favorite teachers but also was my tennis coach while in High School. When my parents were alive, I would often meet up with Norman at Church. My sympathy to his family and friends.

    mr. peterson you will be missed. you gave me sanctuary mr. peterson and i want you to know that you will always be in my heart and thought of frequently and prayed for.thank you for all you have done for me and as milo said you will be missed, good bye dear friend.

    I have fond memories of Normy. I learned a lot from him. I placed out of Algebra I at MTU and started in Calculus in 1966 thanks to his teaching.

    I am sorry to hear that Mr. Peterson has died. Mr. Peterson was a wonderful teacher, person and friend. He was a great example to me of professionalism and caring. He always conducted himself with dignity and was it was a joy to listen to him in class. I had him for all of my math classes and I received a Batchelor of Science Degree from NMU with a major in Mathematics and minors in Statistics and Business Administration. I can gratefully say that any success that I had was in large part due to his teaching and example. I will miss him until we meet again in the life to come.

    I have many fond memories of “Normie” as we Miller’s called him. I was young when our family left Gladstone, but I can still remember going to many basketball games with him and cheering on the Braves.I had the opportunity to visit with him over the years when we came to Gladstone to visit. He will be missed!

    NOP was the greatest! He was a TEACHER and a friend. To this day, I am gratetul for his Math teachings as they have enabled me to succeed where I might have failed.Somewhere, he is explaining the Pythagorean Theorem or Ohm’s law to some new student!

    I always called him Mr. Peterson. He taught me so many things about life and he believed in me until I could believe in myself. And..he taught me how to drive a car. I can hear his voice and see his face…so sorry that he is gone and I didn’t know. I’d have paid my respects. 96 years is a good long life. Bless his heart. May his remaining family be comforted in knowing the goodness that he has given to so many people. Greatest teacher ever.

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