Rev. Theodore Peterson

Reverend Theodore B. Peterson, 87, of Bemidji, MN died Friday, January 15, 2021 at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.Drive – In Celebration of Life will be held at 1:00 pm Thursday, January 21, 2021 at the First Lutheran Church parking lot in Bemidji with Rev. Corey Fuhrman and Rev. Linnea Papke-Larson officiating. The service will be broadcast on a limited area radio frequency. Interment will be at the Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji. Reverend Theodore B. Peterson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 26, 1933 to John and Lilly Peterson. At age seven the family moved to Franklin, MN where he graduated from high school in 1951. Ted attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he met his future wife, Mildred. He graduated from Luther College in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Ted was united in marriage on June 11, 1955 to Mildred L. Benson at First Lutheran Church in Cresco, Iowa. They were blessed with two daughters, Karen Lee and Dawn Marie. Upon completing college, Ted enrolled at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN and graduated on May 28, 1961 with a Master of Divinity degree. His year of pastoral training was spent at St. James Lutheran Church in Crystal, MN. The first three years of Pastor Peterson’s ministry were spent in the two point parish of Salem in Longville and Zion in Boy River Minnesota. In 1964 he became Youth and Education Pastor at First Lutheran Church in Bemidji. During his seven years at First Lutheran he also served as the contact pastor for Lutheran Campus Ministry at Bemidji State University before they had a full time pastor. Additionally he served as District (Synod) Youth Chairman and member of the National Youth Board of the American Lutheran Church (ALC which is now Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, ELCA) and helped set up the National Youth Conventions in Dallas, TX and Seattle, WA. In the community of Bemidji Pastor Peterson helped organize and was the first Chairman of the Day Activity Center. Pastor Ted’s third and last parish was in Wolverton, MN where he served Faith Lutheran Church for 27 years before his retirement in 1998 when he and Mildred moved back to Bemidji. While at Faith Lutheran he was the Dean of the Moorhead Conference (ALC), a member of the first Northwestern Minnesota Synod Council (ELCA) and a member of the first Synod Call Committee. Pastor Ted was involved in fund raising for Concordia College and Eventide Nursing Home in Moorhead and served as a board member of Pathways Bible Camps. He was elected Vice President of the Northern Minnesota District of the ALC which became the ELCA. In 1998 Pastor Ted retired from the active ministry after serving his Lord and Savior for 37 years. He spent his retirement years back in Bemidji where he joined the Northern Artists and Gallery North. Ted so enjoyed painting! Ted was preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother-in-law. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mildred, his daughters Karen L. Peterson of Bemidji and Dawn Marie Oberly and husband Mark of Muncie, Indiana. His family was always a great joy to him. Blessed be Pastor Ted’s memory.  Memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church. Condolences may be left at

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