Irvin J. Peterson, 74
Irvin J. Peterson, 74

Comfrey/Frost - Irving Jon Peterson, age 74, of Comfrey, passed away on Nov. 25, 2020 at Carris Health-Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, from Covid-19. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 2:30 p.m. at Dell Lutheran Church at 47500 97th Street, near Frost, with Rev. Dan Horn officiating. Prior to the service, the visitation will be 12:30-2 p.m. and be a walk-thru viewing to avoid people gathering inside the building. All who attend are asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing guidelines. Burial will follow the service at Dell Lutheran Cemetery. Arrangements are with the Sturm Funeral Home in Comfrey. Online condolences may be left for the family at

Irving was born on May 23, 1946 in Buffalo Center, Iowa to Godwin and Mabel (Olsen) Peterson. He was baptized and confirmed at Dell Lutheran Church. He was raised on the Peterson Homestead where his family ran a dairy farm. He graduated from Frost High School in 1964. He went on to higher education at Waldorf Junior College and Mankato State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1969. His first teaching job was in McGrath, where he was also a four sport coach. It was here that he met Zella Vivant and they were married on April 3, 1971. They began their married life in Ellsworth, where Irving continued to teach and coach and where they welcomed their first child. In 1976, Irv moved the family back to Frost, to farm the Peterson Homestead. While living on the farm, they added three more children to the family. Irving eventually went back to school to get his Masters Degree and Administrator License while also working as an announcer at KJLY radio station. In 1986, the family moved to Comfrey where they had their fifth child. Irv started as the K-12 Principal and Athletic Director and later added the role of Superintendent. He went on to be the Superintendent in Blooming Prairie from 1993 to 2001. He then accepted the position of Superintendent of Schools in Thief River Falls in 2001. Here he received the MASA Region 8 Administrator of Excellence award. Irving retired in 2009 and he and his wife Zella enjoyed their winter after retirement in Mesa, Arizona. After Zella passed away in 2011, Irving continued to spend his winters in Arizona while living in Comfrey the rest of the year.

In his youth, Irving was very involved with 4-H and enjoyed playing football, basketball, softball and spending time with his family and friends. As an adult, Irving’s interests included camping, biking, fishing, playing cards, golf extravaganzas, bible studies, and many family vacations. One of his passions was coaching, which he did from 1969 to 2001 for multiple sports and levels. He was fond of recounting memories of his past teams and athletes. They held a special place in his heart. He especially enjoyed watching the success of his children and grandchildren, and was very proud of them all. His greatest passion was ministry. Irving filled in for various pastors on many occasions throughout several communities. He had a great talent for delivering powerful messages and many were blessed by his ability to share God’s Word…he wasn’t known to be brief and he didn’t need a microphone.

Organizations that Irving was involved in and positions held were: MREA Board of Directors-President, MSBA Conference Presenter, Education District Chairman, Special Education Coop Chairman, Athletic Conference Chairman, Chamber of Commerce President, Lions Club President, Church Council, Congregation President, Gideon Camp Officer and Speaker. He was also one of the founders of the Blooming Prairie Education Foundation and the Thief River Falls Bible Readathon.

Irving is survived by four children: Andrea (Troy) Toll, of Comfrey, Joshua Peterson, of Waseca, Jana (Jared) Anderson, of Willmar, Megan (Gabe) Hirsch, of Comfrey; a son-in-law, Matt Nase, of Lake Crystal; ten grandchildren: Lexi, Jordan, Ashton and Elliana Toll, Olivia, Nolan and Evan Nase, and Eli, Miles and Collin Hirsch; a sister, Muriel (Darrel) Klenz of Fairmont; sisters-in-law, Alice Peterson, of Mesa, Arizona, Frances Vivant, of McGrath, Julie Weiss, of East Bethel; brothers-in-law, Gene (Roberta) Vivant, of Inver Grove Heights, Ronald (Linda) Vivant of Hampton, Fred (Colleen) Vivant, of Northfield; 27 nieces and nephews, and 49 grandnieces and grandnephews.

He is preceded in death by wife, Zella Peterson; daughter, Alisa Nase; parents, Godwin and Mabel Peterson; brother, Gordon Peterson; sister, Vivian Jelle; parents-in-law, Fredand Iwylla Vivant; brothers-in-law, Lloyd Vivant, Ron Weiss; infant niece, Jelle; niece, Elizabeth Weiss, and nephew, Andrew Weiss.

Irving donated to many organizations and charities. Some of his favorites that memorials could be given to are Gideons International, KJLY Kinship Christian Radio, Blooming Prairie Education Foundation, and Comfrey Area Dollars for Scholars.