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Donald Malon Peterson
June 2, 1929 ~ June 21, 2017
June 22, 2017
Donald M. Peterson, 88, passed away on June 21, 2017, at Life Care Center in Sandpoint. There will be a gathering in his memory at Oden Hall, 143 Sunnyside Road, Sandpoint on July 15th from 2 to 6 p.m. Please join us to share stories and remembrances of his wonderful life.

He was born June 2, 1929, at home in Sandpoint, one of nine children, to M.S. (Pete) Peterson and E.M. (Margaret) Peterson. The family moved to the Selle area when he was young. He graduated from Sandpoint High School in 1949. He entered the Air Force in 1950 and served until 1954, mostly stationed in England.

Don married Erma Lee Morris December 27, 1956, at her parents’ home near Naples. They had two boys, Shane and Scott.

Upon returning to Idaho from the Air Force, he resumed working for the U.S. Forest Service. The family moved around northern Idaho when Don was transferred to various ranger districts. He spent most of his career fighting fires all around the west, running hotshot crews and serving on fire crews as line boss and service chief.

Finally, the family settled in Bonners Ferry in 1970, where Don was the Fire Control Officer until his retirement in 1983.

Retirement meant he now had time to fish and hunt, plus help many friends and neighbors with chores around their places. This kept him busy until this past year when he finally slowed down.

Don always enjoyed the outdoors and in particular, fishing. He was out fishing one fine May day when the sky darkened and ash began to fall. When Shane and Scott came to check on him, following their mother's concern, Don said he assumed something had happened but the fishing was too good to quit.

It was May 18, 1980, and Mt. St. Helens had erupted.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Erma Lee, sons Shane (Janet) and Scott (Christine), all of Naples. He is also survived by a brother Duane (Alice) and sister Jean (Willard) of Sandpoint, sisters Fay Harmon of Rainier Oregon and Marge (Jim) Holand of Pinehurst, Idaho.

Donald was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Mertys Spencer and Dee Kegley, and brothers Chuck and Roland.