Lyle Donovan Peterson

1934 – 2020 On Monday, July 13, 2020, Lyle Donovan Peterson, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away suddenly while in hospice care at home, aged 85. Lyle had many of his family present when he peaced out. While his family is important, this is not what we are about today. Lyle would certainly be uncomfortable with this attention, but here we go.Lyle enjoyed a life of opportunities. He was a professional environmentalist, race car driver, comedian, mechanical engineer, hydrologist, lumberjack, and author. His film credits include being unnamed as an extra in many early science fiction movies from 1954 – 1963. He was all of these, and yet none of these. Lyle retired after 38 years with the Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific Railway. He was a locomotive boiler tender, railroad yardmaster, and clerk. He also spent time as a longshoreman on the docks in the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior. As a United States Army veteran, he performed as a tank crew member and military police officer while stationed in Germany. Whether realizing it or not, he epitomized his 4th Armored Division’s motto, “They shall be known by their deeds alone.” Growing up as the youngest in a Swedish family in Duluth, Minnesota, he found his way through life with hard work, quiet determination, and a justified lifelong criticism of the Minnesota Vikings. Industrious, quick witted, and thoughtful, Lyle was a gentle soul who always found the perfect time for a dry comment to lighten the room. Unswerving in his ability to drive through snowstorms to get his kids to their activities, there was no blizzard he couldn’t conquer. He enjoyed fishing in his Northern Minnesota home, duck hunting, golfing, hiking, and a game of cribbage at the cabin by the light and quiet hiss of a vintage Coleman lantern. He threw a wicked knuckleball, then laugh when you couldn’t catch it. Lyle was usually the first to spot the biggest and prettiest Lake Superior agate while casually walking along a country road, or shoreline. If you saw it first and reached for it, he wouldn’t be against stepping on your hand until you wisely withdrew. He’d effortlessly work it out of the ground, then quietly slip it in his pocket. There, it would rest against his wheat pennies and pre-64 nickels. His superpower really rested in his car knowledge. Lyle would spot a car from great distance, then provide an amazing amount of details about it, all while weaving a bit his own life through the discussion. If you ever wanted to learn about Lyle, simply ask him about a car. His keen eye was the model for today’s laser levels. He could spot an askew picture from across the room, and nonchalantly adjust it ever so slightly. A mere mortal couldn’t recognize the change, but easily still see the difference. Lyle wrote extensively on the relationship between quantum physics and relativity. Although much of his work remains classified, he enjoys a dedicated peer following who still ambiguously mention his pioneering work. Lyle never sought a spotlight. Instead of flowers or other offerings, please find a Friday night walleye fry and we challenge you to enjoy it as much as Lyle did. Skål! For what it’s worth, here comes the obligatory list of living family members and relationships. Lyle is survived by his spouse of 65-years, Judy Ann Peterson (Szewcik), Sun City West, AZ; son, David Peterson (Andrea); and daughters, Cheryl Kay Wisneski (John), Nancy Ann Lang (Michael); grandchildren; Kristen, Morgan, Abigail, Benjamin, Anja, Jacob; one great-grandson, Bennett; and a healthy extended family.


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