Tuesday, May 17, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Firts Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Treamont Blvd.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd. NW
Grand Rapids, MI
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.
Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp
4158 Camp Delight Rd.
Onekama, MI 49675
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Stuart Peterson would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was known for his strong faith that was his constant companion as well as the reason for the joy that was in his heart. Stuart was a loving husband and devoted father who was filled with great joy to welcome both grandchildren and great-grandchildren into the family. A lifelong resident of the community he loved, he served others in ways both great and small. Never one to worry about the things of this world, Stuart took everything in stride, never letting things get the best of him. Although he will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will remain a lasting treasure in the hearts and lives of his friends and loved ones for years to come.
Life was exciting during the vibrant days of the Roaring Twenties. Cars were mass produced on assembly lines, radios brought the world around us within our reach, and the world of flight was taken to new heights due to the adventurous spirits of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. It was amidst this eventful time that Fridolph and Ruth Mae (Rippey) Peterson were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Stuart F. In 1923, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was raised in the family home on the North side of the city alongside his brother, Ralph, and his sister, Marcia. Stuart grew up in the Plainfield and Knapp area where he enjoyed hanging around with his school friends.
For the most part Stuart was a typical young boy. He and his family were members of the Swedish Covenant Church, which is now called First Evangelical Covenant Church. The family was actively involved there, and Stuart participated in many church activities. This was also where he learned the fundamentals of the Christian faith that would sustain him throughout his life. As the 1920s gave way to the 1930s, the Great Depression set in, and Stuart began working at a young age to help support the family. He had paper routes, worked in a grocery store, and always gave everything his all. Stuart’s high school years found him at Creston High School where he played the saxophone.
After graduating from high school in 1941, Stuart was ready for all that life had in store. He went to Grand Rapids Junior College, but after a year he enlisted in the United States Navy. Stuart went to flight school in what the Navy called the V5 program. There, he learned to fly the Navy Corsair aircraft by flying over the Atlantic searching for enemy submarines. Stuart also learned to take off from and land on an aircraft carrier.
When he was discharged, Stuart returned to Grand Rapids. He finished his schooling at Grand Rapids Junior College and then transferred to Michigan State University. This proved to be quite fateful as it was in East Lansing that he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Lina, and they met at the Covenant Church that Stuart was attending during a church function. Sparks flew right from the start, and the rest is history as they say. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Stuart and Lina were married on September 17, 1949, in East Lansing shortly after Stuart graduated from MSU.
With a degree in business administration, Stuart moved to Grand Rapids with his young bride, and in 1950 he started his own insurance agency. Now called AEA Group Benefits and Executive Systems Inc. of Grand Rapids, Stuart’s business has developed into a successful family business.
Over the years Stuart and Lina (Mernie) lived in several locations in Grand Rapids while raising their three children, Deborah, Philip, and Mary Jane. Sadly, Stuart and Mernie mourned the loss of a fourth child, Thomas Mark, who died as an infant. The Petersons spent some time living in a home on West Leonard until the tornado of 1956 took that home. They then lived on Blythe Court, then on Carpenter, and after the children were on their own they moved to a condo in Bona Vista. Finally, they moved to Blue Bell Way before spending their last few years in an apartment in Covenant Village of the Great Lakes. It was about that time that Stuart developed rheumatoid arthritis, which limited his abilities. The move to Covenant Village in 2011 was a very positive thing for the couple as they made many new friends there.
Although he was limited during his sunset years, Stuart spent the majority of his life being very active. He gave much of his time serving in his church including on the North Park University Board, the Covenant Pension Committee, Deacon Board of the First Evangelical Covenant Church, Mel Trotter Ministries, and the First Evangelical Covenant Church Building Committee. Stuart also served professionally as an insurance counselor, earning the honors of CLU and CHFS as well as being a licensed insurance counselor in the State of Michigan. During their retirement years, he and Mernie spent part of the winter months in Gulf Shores, Alabama, although they really looked forward to returning home to be with family and church friends again. Throughout most of his life Stuart was an avid fisherman who particularly liked fly fishing. He even tied his own flies. In later years Stuart gave up fly fishing but continued to fish. He remained active in the business as he got a little older, and he still did a lot of insurance counseling as well. The last two months of his life were very limited as Stuart suffered with congestive heart failure, and he moved to the nursing section at Covenant Village.
Described as honest, thoughtful, and tenderhearted, Stuart Peterson lived his life with others in mind whether his family, those within his church, or the people of his community. It was easy to see that his life was deeply rooted in his unwavering faith, and it was also this faith that carried him when the storms of life came his way. Stuart was dedicated to his family, and he was happiest when surrounded by their love. He will never be forgotten.
Mr. Stuart F. Peterson, aged 92 of Grand Rapids went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Friday, May 13, 2016. He was preceded in death by his son Thomas Mark. Surviving are his wife, of 66 years, Lina (Mernie) Peterson, his children: Deborah and Paul Forsgren, Philip and Karin Peterson, Mary Jane and John Butkevich; 11 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, his brother and sister-in-law, Ralph and Bernice Peterson, his sister Marcia Hansma; and many nieces, nephews and friends.He waas a lifelong member of First Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids where he served the Lord faithfully. Stuart was a graduate of Creston High School, Michigan State University and honorably served our country as a US Naval Aviator during WWII. He was the founder of A.E.A. Group Benefits and Executive Systems Inc. of Grand Rapids. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with his family on Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. N.W. Services will be held Tuesday at 11:00 AM at First Evangelical Covenant Church, 1933 Tremont Blvd. N.W. Interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp would be appreciated. To read more of Stuart’s life, sign the online register book or share a memory please visit www.lifestorynet.com