Funeral services were held Friday, Feb. 17, at Community Covenant Church in Upsala, with Pastor Anna Payne and Craig Johnson officiating. Burial with full military honors was held in Lakeview Cemetery in Grey Eagle.
Gene was born to Hilmer and Olga (Fagerhaug) Peterson in Wessington Springs, S.D. Sept. 7, 1928. He grew up ranching with his younger siblings Marge, Wayne and Elmer. The Peterson family moved to Upsala when Gene was a teenager. He graduated from Upsala High School and was later drafted into the U.S. Army. Gene finished with active duty in 1953 and soon met Lillian Porttiin. Gene and Lillian were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Grey Eagle, Aug. 3, 1957. They were blessed with six children they raised while ranching and farming in South Dakota and Minnesota. Gene was a member of the Upsala Legion, Post No. 0350.
Survivors include his wife Lillian of Burtrum; children, Evelyn Hawkinson, Marilyn (Bryan) Yeschick, Sandra (Dave) Koep, Eric (Luann) and Darrel (DeAnn), Diane (Tony) Smieja; brothers and sister, Wayne (Muriel), Marge (Stan) Lindholm and Elmer (Nancy); grandchildren, Steven Hawkinson, Kathleen (Troy) Waldren, Carl Hawkinson; Nick, Mitch (Tara), and Logan Samuelson; Kyle Koep and Candice Koep; Hannah (Jeremiah) Beaudin, Tyler, Makenna and Parker Peterson; Miranda and Trenton Peterson; Austin and Avery Smieja; great grandchildren, Reann, Amber, TJ, and Shaelynn Waldren; and Cameron Carlen.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Hilmer and Olga; brother, Eugene; aunts and uncles; brothers-in-law, Bert Porttiin and Art Beilke; and son-in-law, Dick Hawkinson.