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Gene F. Peterson, 103 of Gatzke, MN passed away peacefully at LifeCare Greenbush Manor on Monday, December 12, 2021.

Celebration of Life for Gene will be at 2:00 PM Sunday, December 12, 2021 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls with Rev. Timothy Lundeen officiating. Visitation will be from Noon until 2:00 PM on Sunday. Burial will follow at Landstad Cemetery, Gatzke, MN.

Gene F. Peterson was born June 16, 1918, to Arvid and Clara (Pederson) Peterson in Badger, MN. He was the third of eleven children. He was baptized at Badger Creek Church. He was born the year of the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The family moved to several towns in northern Minnesota and North Dakota since his father worked for the Great Northern Railroad. Gene attended school in these towns through 8th grade when he began working full time for area farmers and later moved to Gatzke where his father had purchased land and began farming there. He also worked for Art Stordahl.

He met his future wife, Ann Wagner, while she was working as a waitress at the local café. They were married on February 26, 1941, in Middle River, MN, and started their life together in a home near Gatzke. In 1947 they purchased their present farm a few miles away and spent the rest of their married life there until they moved to Greenbush Assisted Living a few years ago and then to LifeCare Manor in 2020. They raised their six children on that farm.

Gene was a farmer his entire life. Together with Ann, they raised cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, grass seeds, and grew small grain crops and alfalfa for hay; they were a real steward of their land. They had a herd of beef cattle until he was 90 years old. They were named Conservation Farmers of the Year in 1978. Gene was known as the “local vet” if any neighbors needed help with their animals in a hurry, they would call and he would go help them. He was a longtime member of the United Lutheran Church in Gatzke. He served on the Gatzke School Board for several years and was part of the committee for building the school. He served on the Veldt Township board for many years also. He enjoyed farming, hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, driving his four-wheeler and was an avid reader throughout his life. Most of all he loved having his family and friends around. He and Ann were married for almost eighty years. They enjoyed teaching all their grandchildren about life on the farm and taught their family the value of hard work, honesty, and integrity. Many great memories were made visiting there.

He is survived by his children and their spouses: Myrna (Marvin) Espe, Gary (Dena) Peterson, Dwight (Janis) Peterson, Maureen (Bob) Giffen, Joni (Craig) Swenson, and Tami (Daryl) Comstock. Grandchildren: Heidi (Jeff) Larson, Marty (Ericka) Espe, Kristina Peterson, Paula (Jay) Lewis, Kate Striefel (Robert Weber), Maria (Farhad) Peterson-Ahmad, Gwen (Tom) Summers, Tracey Regimbal, Rob (Mike) Giffen, Travis (Desiree) Giffen, Corey Swenson, Garret (Sheila) Swenson, Sabrina (Shawn) Phelps, Jordan Brateng, Ashley Olson (Dallas Thompson), and Austin Brateng. Great grandchildren: Brock (Emily), McKenzie (Aaron), Sophie (Matt), Clara (Peter), Jon, Annie, Kristopher (Katie), Kaleb (Meg), Leighton, Allie (James), Camryn, Bea, Caden (Megan), Reid, Shelby (Jory), Brynn (Ryan), Ella, Autumn, Evangeline, Avalyn, Chastity, Callie, Cadence, Logan, Walker, Mason, Mia, Kieryn, Cale, and Blakely. Great great grandchildren: Owen, Ava Jean, Noah, Lamamie, Kano, Ryan, Maren, Karsyn, and another due in 2022. Brother: Dale Peterson and numerous nieces and nephews and special friends and neighbors.

We would also like to thank the staff at LifeCare Manor and Assisted Living for the excellent care they have provided. Many of the staff became like family to Dad (and Mom).

He is preceded in death by his wife, Ann, his parents and in laws, his sisters, Genevieve Hervey, Patience Hervey, Fern Drown, and Lorraine VanderWeg, and brothers, Roy, Vernon, Dawn, Forrest, and Larry.

He passed away peacefully at LifeCare Manor with his daughter at his side on Monday, December 6, 2021 at the age of 103 years, 5 months and 20 days. Blessed be his memory.