Cover photo for Ralph Peterson's Obituary
Ralph Peterson Profile Photo
1948 Ralph 2021

Ralph Peterson

October 2, 1948 — September 13, 2021

   Ralph Peterson, 72, of Portland, ND died on September 13, 2021, of complications from ALS.  Ralph Sigward was born Oct. 2, 1948 to Norman and Mildred (Wold) Peterson in Thief River Falls, MN.  After graduating from TRF high school in 1966, he was part of the inaugural class at the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth, MN.  He joined the Army in 1968 and was married to Phyllis (Nelson) on Dec. 20th, 1969.  They established their first home together in Hontheim, Germany, where he was stationed for two years. 

     To earn a living, he delighted in serving people with a smile through a variety of products and services:  Peterson Furniture, Amway, the Sears Catalog Agency, Ralph’s Sharp Shop, as a Hunter’s Safety instructor, announcing for high school football and wrestling, teaching people about Barleylife and other nutrition products, as a school bus driver, at his Stihl retail and repair shop, and selling and repairing Dixon lawnmowers.  He was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of many.   His years of growing sweet corn added sweet smiles to many faces in the area. 

     As an avid outdoorsman, getting together with his brothers, cousins, and friends to hunt was a highlight each fall.  Gifted with a beautiful tenor singing voice, Ralph sang in small groups and choirs at church gatherings most of his adult life.  He also sang in the ‘Norwegian quartet’, Spectrum, with four other men.  Singing The National Anthem at a Twin’s baseball game with them was an honor.  As a pilot, he spent hours above the clouds, dreaming of Home somewhere beyond the blue.  

     Ralph was an active member of Valley Free Lutheran Church in Portland.  Beyond the local congregation, he served on multiple national corporations and boards within the AFLC.  An active member of the Gideons, he especially looked forward to distributing Bibles to local 5th graders, local college students, and passers-by at county fairs.  Customers at his Stihl shop often left with what he called ‘a manual for the soul’, an orange Gideon New Testament.

     Ralph’s wife Phyllis passed away in 2013.  Ralph married Valerie (Schiele) on January 26, 2019.  Above all, his love of God compelled him to be the son, husband, father, grandfather and friend that he was; hardworking and generous, prayerful and encouraging, always trusting the Lord to guide him and give him the strength to meet the challenges of each day.  Home with his Savior, Jesus Christ, at last.   

   Ralph is survived by his wife, Valerie;  his children Brent (Kristin) of Valley City, ND, Julie (Alan) Twedt of Portland, ND, Aaron of Omaha, NE,  Andrew of Fargo, ND, and Valerie’s children Cara (Ryan) Grant of Owasso, OK, Brian (Megan) Pope of Richland, WA;  his grandchildren Caleb (Kjerstin), Rebekah, Hannah, David, Abigail and Faith Peterson, Solveig (Jacob) Jameson, Malena, Elsie, and Jens Twedt, Poppy and Sawyer Grant, Eli, Hazel, Ruby, Charlette and Maggie Pope;  his sister-in-law Sharon (Peterson) Klopp, brothers James (Gail) Peterson, Eau Claire, WI, Leslie (Mary) Peterson, Detroit Lakes, MN, Wayne (Naomi) Peterson, Thief River Falls, MN, and Terry (Renita) Wold, McKinney, TX;  many in-laws, nieces and nephews.

   Ralph was preceded in death by his infant daughter Rachel, his parents, his wife Phyllis, and his brother Roger Peterson. 

Visitation:  Will be 2–4 PM on Sunday, September 19, 2021 with a 4 PM Public Prayer Service at the Baker Funeral Home Chapel in Mayville, ND and will resume one hour prior to the service at the church.

Funeral Service: Will be held at 2:00 PM Monday, September 20, 2021 at the Riverside Evangelical Free Church in Mayville, ND.

Military Honors: May~Port Honor Guard and the North Dakota Military Funeral Honors.

Burial: Will be in the Aurdahl Cemetery in Portland, ND.


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