Mervin Reen Petersen was born on June 10, 1920 in Alta to Reen and Ingeborg (Johansen) Peterson. Mervin graduated from Alta High School. After high school he served in the United States Army as a Master Sergeant in WWII. He married Phyllis (Peterson) Petersen on April 1, 1945 To this union two sons were born, Michael and Jeffrey.
Mervin worked as a general contractor and helped build several local churches, schools and other businesses. He was a former mayor of Alta and city council member. He enjoyed fishing, woodworking, horseback riding, snow and water skiing, hunting and playing cards. He was a member of the Property Tax Review Board of Buena Vista County, Alta Kiwanis, American Legion, Alta VFW Post #6172, Master Builders of Iowa, and Meals on Wheels.
Mervin is survived by his wife, Phyllis of Alta; sons, Michael and wife Doris Petersen of Prior Lake, MN, and Jeffrey and wife Stephanie Petersen of Toledo, Ohio; grandchildren, Mary Petersen, Jennifer Petersen, Ryan Petersen and Jill (Petersen) Ridgeway; two great-grandchildren, Addison Ridgeway and Daniel Ridgeway Jr.; four nephews and one niece; and many other great nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Reen and Ingeborg Peterson; a brother, Lester Petersen; and a sister, Irene Peters.