At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

A kind gesture

Please read obituary to learn more about remembering Dave.

Life Story / Obituary


David August Peterson (Dave), 79 , died on July 28, 2014 in Traverse City, Michigan at Munson Medical Center, after suffering a massive stroke at home in Williamsburg the day before.

Dave was born on September 26, 1934 in Lapeer to Elgin “Pete” Peterson and his wife Ruth.

Graduating from Lapeer High School in 1952, Dave attended Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Struggling with Latin, Dave was told by his professor that it would “be wise for him to take something else”, so he picked up swimming and took home an A. Transferring to Western Michigan University, David graduated in 1956 with a degree in Business Administration. Dave returned to Lapeer and joined his father, Pete, in opening a used car lot on Genesee Street.

This used car lot eventually grew into Peterson and Son AMC-Jeep, Renault, Lincoln-Mercury and added Honda, Schwinn and Champion Motorhomes.

Throughout the 50 years Dave was in the car business, the dealership used highly successful ad campaigns that featured family, friend and employees in various, often goofy, situations. In the later years, along with partner Wilbert “Butch” Borck, the dealership created the phrase “Peterson and Son in Lovely Lapeer”, in an annoying jingle that is still stuck in the mind of many people.

The phrase, “Lovely Lapeer” has become a common name used all over in Lapeer to this day.

The years of ad creativity earned the dealership many awards, and Dave a seat on the National Dealer Advertising Board for Lincoln-Mercury.

In addition to the car business, Dave, joined with a few friends, and invested in stocks, real estate, oil wells, harness racing and at one time owned six Little Caesars Pizza stores in Puerto Rico. Some of these investments went well, others tanked horribly, but no matter the outcome, there always was a number of funny and interesting tales.

David sold and retired from the auto business by 2007, then divided the year living between Sarasota, FL and Traverse City.

Dave was lover of food, wine and spirits. He enjoyed eating out from the most upscale restaurants to bar with a grill. Any place he could have a conversation with people, he was quite happy to be at. Dave made friends anytime he went out, whether it was going to the grocery store, a restaurant, a business deal or a trip overseas. He was a rare person that genuinely enjoyed talking with and meeting people, and found something interesting in everyone. Dave and his wife of 55 years, Kay, traveled extensively during their marriage.

It never got old, to his children anyhow, to see Kay carrying all the suitcases, while Dave was chatting with people he met.

Dave was an avid reader, going through as many as 10 books a week, and enjoyed watching sports of any type. He had a keen sense of humor and a mind full of facts that made him so easy to talk with, even if he was telling you something that he made up.

David is survived by his more than patient wife Kay, three children, Tim (Karen), Chris, and Cari Sue (Mike Hotchkiss), two grandchildren, David Elgin and Alyssa Kay and a sister, Marlene Harms (Ron) of Aransas Pass, Texas. He is very deeply missed by his sheltie Abigail Ruth, and semi-missed by five cats.

Cremation has taken place and no funeral service will be held. There will be a remembrance gathering scheduled in the near future.

For a memorial contribution, please go to your favorite bar or restaurant (in the Acme-Elk Rapids area, the Bayview, Town Club or Hacienda especially), purchase a glass of wine, beer, a cocktail or even a soda, and tip it to Dave. Do this with a smile, and a memory or story, silently or out loud.

There is no better way that he would want to be remembered.

It is hard to sums up a person’s life writing an obituary. There are many people, stories, accomplishments, blunders and moments of laughter that aren’t shared, because space does not allow. Please feel free to use the memory section on the right to add any story, laugh or experience you might have had with David Peterson. These are the things that keep him alive and well in the minds of all that knew and loved him.

“It is easier to think of everyone as a friend then to keep track of your enemies.”

“Go see if the guy playing the music knows Humoresque.”


“You didn’t hear him, but the doctor said a glass of wine is okay to have, probably even good for me.”

“Shake a persons hand firm and look them in the eye. Everyone that you meet deserves your respect.”

Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to sign the guestbook and share messages with the family.

The family chose Life Story Funeral Home, Traverse City to handle the arrangements.