William Leonard Petersen was born Dec. 25, 1928, in Newell, to James "Elmer" and Lillian (Shaw) Petersen. Bill grew up in Newell with his two older brothers, Jim and Jerry. He graduated from Newell High School in 1946. Bill enlisted in the Air Force in 1948 and served four years, spending three years in Germany with the occupation forces. In 1952, Bill attended Buena Vista College, Storm Lake, graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1957. On April 17, 1954, while attending college, Bill married Carol Smith and they began raising their family in Storm Lake. Together they were blessed with four children, Mark, Mike, Michelle and Mary.
Bill moved his family from Storm Lake to Keokuk, and finally to Hoffman Estates, Illinois in 1960. Bill worked for various companies in research and development, performing quality control and engineering functions. He also owned and managed several rental properties which kept him very busy throughout his "retirement years." Bill was a long time general aviation pilot and aircraft owner. He loved flying private airplanes, a passion passed along to him by his brothers Jim and Jerry and passed down to his son, Mark. Bill also loved singing and gardening.
Those left to cherish his memory include his children: Mark (Nancy) Petersen of Poplar Grove, Ill., Michael (Cathy) Petersen of Carpentersville, Ill., Michelle (Kurt) Schneider of Round Lake, Ill. and Mary (Jim) Farrell of Wheaton, Ill.; 9 grandchildren: Michael Petersen, Jr., Jennifer (David) Bruns, Nicole Schneider, Shaun Petersen, Jeremy (Maggie) Petersen, Karl Schneider, Kimberley Schneider, Liam Farrell and Daniel Farrell; 8 great grandchildren; brother, James Petersen of Newell; sister-in-law, Marylinn Petersen of Newell; nieces: Bobby (Jon) Winslow of Milford, Jerri Long of Newell, Lynn (Norm) Hogrefe of Storm Lake, Beth (Kent) Wolcott of Newell; nephew, Kem (Barb) Petersen of Newell; and niece-in-law, Claire Petersen of Newell.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Lillian; his wife, Carol; his brother, Gerald Petersen; his sister-in-law, Betty Petersen; his brother-in-law, William "Billy" Smith, Jr.; his nephew, Kevin Petersen; and his companion, Patricia Murdoch.
Visitation will take place on Monday, May 10, 2010 from 5-8 p.m. at the Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home, 321 S Fulton St., Newell. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, 401 S. Howard St., Newell. Burial will be in the Newell Cemetery.