Virgil G. Peterson

Virgil Peterson died peacefully at the age of 92 on April 11, 2009 at his home on Mercer Island. He was born in Everett, Wash., on May 18, 1916, to Charles and Clara Peterson of Arlington, Wash. In his youth, Mr. Peterson climbed many of the peaks of the North Cascades and created lifelong friendships while on some of these adventures.

An Arlington High School alumnus, Mr. Peterson attended the University of Washington during the Great Depression and graduated with a degree in journalism. One noteworthy weekend while attending the UW, he returned home to help his father in his Arlington shingle mill. Unfortunately, a tragic accident ensued, severing several of the fingers on his right hand. Many remember their first meeting with Mr. Peterson from his warm smile and unusual hand shake.

After the start of WWII, Mr. Peterson worked for The Boeing Company in the public relations department. Later, he served as a field representative for The Red Cedar Shingle and Shake Bureau, eventually becoming the secretary/manager, a position he held for over 40 years. Originally located in downtown Seattle, the Bureau later moved to Bellevue.

It would be an understatement to say that Mr. Peterson was intimately involved with most of the U.S. building codes associated with the application of cedar shingles and shakes. Throughout the years, many have engaged him in conversations regarding those building codes. He was known to eventually testify, “Yes, I wrote it that way for a purpose, and I’d be happy to explain it to you.”

Mr. Peterson met Jane Berkey at a fraternity/sorority exchange while attending the UW. They married in 1940, and he remained devoted to her during their 68 years together. In 1962, they moved to Mercer Island, where he lived until his dying day. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson enjoyed the tropics of the South Pacific, including Hong Kong, Bali, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Samoa. Throughout the ’90s, they kept a second home in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.

Mr. Peterson is survived by his wife, Jane; children, Carol Keaton, Dale Peterson and Mark Peterson (Suzanne Swadener); two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Charles Peterson.

A private ceremony will be held for family members and close friends. If you wish to share a story about Mr. Peterson, a blog for this purpose can be found at Remembrances are suggested to the University of Washington “Students First Scholarship Fund” (4333 Brooklyn Ave. N.E., Box 359504, Seattle, WA 98195).