Harold Petersen
August 11, 2016

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  Harold J. “Pete” Petersen, a man devoted to his family, faith, community, and country passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on Thursday morning, August, 11, 2016. He was 91 years old.

Harold was born in Boston, the only child of the late Harold and Marie Petersen. His family lived in Winthrop until he was 13 years old and then moved to Newton. He was a 1943 graduate of Newton High School and immediately answered the call to serve his country in World War II. During WW II he served as a radioman in the Army Air Corps. He served in Africa, Italy and Germany as a radio operator on the B-17’s and on rescue aircraft to save down pilots and crew members. He was the recipient of the WW II Victory Medal and Army of the Occupation Medals. At the inception of the Air Force after WW II, Harold enlisted in the Air Force where he held the rank of Sergeant serving on B-17’s doing aerial photography and surveillance in Europe.

Harold and Chris met at the High Hubbers, which was a social club for tall people. They married in 1954 and lived in Wellesley before buying a home in Burlington.

Harold spent 35 years working with the Federal government as a contracting officer in the Defense Contract Administration Service. He worked with defense contractors like Raytheon, AVCO, Sanders Associates, and General Electric. Harold also worked on contract administration for the Gemini Project, which was NASA’s second human spaceflight program after the Mercury program. Harold enjoyed his career, coworkers, and the contribution he made to help keep America safe and a leader in the world.

Harold was a man of many passions. It was always “All In” when something peeked his interest. He was a strong supporter of the Burlington Citations and Wilmington Crusaders drum and bugle corps. He loved animals and for a while bred guinea pigs and parakeets in his basement. He enjoyed working with leather and made pocket books, sandles and other leather products that he shared with family and sold at craft fairs. Harold also enjoyed crafting Teddy Bears. He enjoyed the art of Mandala (String art) for a number years as well. Not one to sit idle after his retirement he became a school bus driver. Harold was extremely popular with his student passengers with his quick wit and trademark Greek Fisherman’s hat. Harold loved working in the garden with his wife Christine. They traveled in Europe, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland and other Scandavian countries. They also enjoyed quilting together. Each had their own style of quilting. Christine enjoyed soft tones and palettes, while Harold enjoyed creating bright, vibrant quilts. They made quilts for newly baptized children at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for decades. They also made quilts for children in Third World Countries as part of the “Wrap A Smile” charity. He was a longtime member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church where he was involved in the church activities, socials, quilting and tapestry group, and coffee hours. Harold was a very important part of the family of St. Mark’s Church.

When you talk about Harold you can’t help but talk about his passion, humor, warmth, and devotion to his family. Even at 91, he was energetic and independent. He had his own special sense of humor and was the “king” of the one-liners. When talking about his age he would joke that “his goal was to be the oldest retired Federal employee receiving a pension.” He had hundreds of lines like that always brought a smile to your face. He had a warm spot in his heart for children and was known for always having a supply of M & M’s in his pockets for the children he saw. Harold loved being a resident of Burlington for the past 60 years and being a member of the VFW and American Legion He had such a strong devotion to his wife, Christine who he shared over 56 years of marriage. Harold was a strong and supportive Dad who always wanted his children to be independent, respectful, and responsible individuals. He loved the joy of being a grandfather of 5 and great grandfather of 2. Harold was a gentle giant who will be remembered for his big stature (6’6’’) as well as his big heart.

Harold was the beloved husband of the late Christine (Holder) Petersen. He was the loving father of Karen Whelton & her late husband Paul of Danvers, Marcia Petersen of Woburn, Nancy Dutton & her husband Robert of Dracut, Eric Petersen & his wife Martha of North Attleboro and the late Leslie Petersen. He was the proud grandfather of Christine Lattuada, Kathleen Whelton, Brian Petersen, Jeffrey Petersen, & Rhiannon Dutton and great grandfather of Ainsley & Leighton Lattuada.

Funeral Services will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 10 St. Mark’s Road, Burlington on Monday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt., 128, Woburn side) on Sunday from 4-7 p.m. Relatives & friends respectfully invited to attend. Burial will be private. Memorials in Harold’s name may be made to Compassionate Care Hospice, 800 West Cummings Park, Suite 3100, Woburn, MA 01801.
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