L. Ray Peterson – July 18, 1936 – June 23, 2020. Passed away peacefully after a short unexpected battle with cancer, with his family at his side.
Ray was born in a little farmhouse on Midland Road in Nampa, Idaho on July 18, 1936 to Clarence and Jane Peterson, the 4th of 10 children. Ray was born at home because the doctor couldn’t be there, but his mother said the doctor still sent a bill. Ray’s birth certificate showed his name was John for a brief moment and then changed to Leland Ray. The family moved to Emmett about 1950. Ray graduated from Emmett High School in 1954 and then went to the University of Idaho where he graduated in 1958 with a degree in Agronomy. Ray enlisted in the Idaho Air National Guard in 1958. In February 1959 he was sent to Lakeland Air Force Base for basic training. On the way there, the airplane crashed outside of Kerrville, Texas, killing two pilots and one of the guardsmen. Ray survived that crash and then had to fly back home after basic training. Needless to say, flying always made him nervous after that, but it didn’t stop him from flying.
Ray always had a job or two. He worked at a gas station while going to college and worked at the cannery during summers and college breaks. He also worked for a couple of seed cleaning and processing companies. Ray then went to work in 1963 for the US Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration for over 22 years – starting out in Blackfoot, Rexburg and then the State Office in Boise, Idaho. Ray then spent 15 years in banking, at IB&T, Valley Bank, and Bank of America. After his banking career, he worked as an independent financial consultant and then helped his friend Neal Russell with some family construction projects. Ray was very well respected and known for his honesty and integrity. He was a very humble and kind man who touched so many lives.
Ray married Connie Jo Walden in 1959 and had 4 children: Teresa, JoAnn, Ron and Paul. After their divorce in 1967, Ray’s mother, Grandma Jane moved in with Ray to help raise his 4 children until Grandma Jane passed away in 1976. At that time Ray continued to raise his kids as the best single Dad ever.
Ray is survived by his four children: Teresa (Mike) White, JoAnn (Mike) Farrell, Ron (Jane) Peterson and Paul (Laura) Peterson. He is also survived by his wife, Cathy Peterson and her sons, Chase (Katya) Chivers and Clay Chivers. He is also survived by grandchildren Eric (Emily) White, Justin (Ashley) Farrell, Jordan (Kara) Farrell, Anthony, Christopher, Timothy and Veronica Peterson, Kevan and Dylan Peterson. Also, great grandchildren Ruby, River and Wylie Farrell, Hannah and Lydia Farrell, Lance and Layla Peterson, Aidynne, Eli and James Peterson. Ray is also survived by siblings Clarence (Pat) Peterson, Edna Howell, Mary Hanby, Chuck (Julie) Peterson, Ellen (Ron) Mitchell, Sharon (Dennis)Kelly, Judy (Jim) Fritz, and sister-in-law Sharon Peterson and lots and lots of nephews and nieces who all say Ray is their favorite uncle!!! He is also survived by Cathy’s family who have loved Ray like a brother. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, his baby sister Norma Jean Peterson, his brother, Gary Peterson and grandson Joshua Farrell.
Ray has had a place in Island Park since 1987. There are so many memories of entertaining family and friends. He loved to fish, hunt, snowmobile and drive around looking for wildlife. Ray loved to take family and friends through Yellowstone National Park. He could have been a tour guide!!! Ray has made so many amazing friends over the years and lots of those friends have become like family - Carl and Connie Nelson, Gary Henrie, the Engets and Busters and the entire Neal and Sharon Russell family.
At this time, the Family would like to thank the many health care professionals at St. Luke’s in Meridian. Each of you gave him wonderful care and showed him respect, compassion and honesty. And a special thank you to Ray’s hospice team, especially Allison, who provided much needed support and compassion to the family, especially to Cathy.
Due to COVID 19 restrictions, a public service will not be held. Condolences for the family may be left at www.cloverdalefuneralhome. In lieu of flowers, Ray asked for everyone to just be kind.
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