School 21

Donald W. Peterson

November 2, 1927 ~ July 3, 2021 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Donald W. Peterson, 93, of Rock Island, passed away Saturday, July 3, 2021, at Clarissa Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf, Iowa.

A Visitation will be held Friday, August 20, from 4:00p.m. till 7:00p.m. at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home in Rock Island.  A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, August 21, 1:00 p.m. at St. James Lutheran Church, Rock Island.  Memorials may be made in Don’s name to Rock Island Rotary Foundation, the Augustana First Generation Fund, or St. James Lutheran Church in Rock Island.

Don was born November 2, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, son of Walter and Emily (Pierson) Peterson. He married Virginia Johnson November 14, 1987.

Don graduated from Augustana College in 1951.  He later graduated with his PhD from the University of Chicago.  He taught in the Augustana Education Department for 36 years and served as department chair for 27, retiring in 1993.

Community service was essential to Don.  In the early 1970’s, he was elected to the Rock Island School Board.  Later, he served as board member for Quad Cities Red Cross and sat on St. James’ church council. He was a 54-year member of Rock Island Rotary and served as president in 1989-90.

He committed himself to family and life.  He loved teaching his children and grandchildren to fish and delighted in making family groan over his puns.  He liked his chocolate dark and his music classical, adding his tenor voice to local choirs.

Those who cherish his memory include his wife, Virginia; daughters and sons-in-law, Sara and Bradford Nelson, Wisconsin; Kristin and Timothy Marquardt, Alabama; five grandchildren and spouses; eleven great-grandchildren, and exchange daughter, Yoko Natsume, Japan.

He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter Beth Peterson;   brother and sister-in-law, Rev. Raymond and Mary Ann Peterson.

Online condolences may be left at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald W. Peterson, please visit our floral store.


August 20, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Rock Island, Wheelan

Celebration of Life following Burial
August 21, 2021

St. James Lutheran Church (Rock Island)


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