Obituary of Eric George Peterson
The Reverend Dr. Eric George Peterson died on March 4, 2022 after a long battle with cancer.
Dr. Peterson was born in Jamaica, NY on February 17, 1944 to Eric Gustav and Sarah Charlotte (Nyman) Peterson. He had three sisters: Joan (Schlange), Florence (Graham) and Judith (Krull). He was baptized and confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church, Queens Village, NY.
On June 15,1968 Eric married Barbara (Bobbie) Muench. They met as college freshmen at Concordia College, Bronxville, NY knowing and loving each for the next 60 years. Together they had two children: Kirsten Shailer and Joshua Lathrop Peterson.
Eric was a consummate learner: he loved reading, going to school and learning from others. He was a man of vision and had a talent for bringing people together. He loved to tinker and always had a home workbench. Eric enjoyed many pastimes: among them gardening, photography, golf and fishing (fresh and salt water). Eric found pleasure being in nature—whether a stroll on the neighborhood trails or 160 miles on the Camino in Spain. He and Bobbie shared a love for travel—especially Europe and our national parks.
Dr. Peterson earned an Associate of Arts from Concordia College, Bronxville, NY; a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia Senior College, Ft. Wayne, IN; a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO; a Master of Arts in Christian Education from the Presbyterian School for Christian Education, Richmond, VA; and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary (American University), Washington, DC.
In 1971 Eric was ordained at his home church in Queens, NY and called as Pastor to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Charlotte Hall, MD and Grace Lutheran Church, La Plata, MD (dual parish). In 1974 he became the first full-time pastor of Grace, La Plata. While serving this parish, Grace Lutheran Pre-school was established which grew to the 8th grade necessitating a building program for the expanding school. He also completed clinical training at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC and was appointed Chaplain for the Maryland State Police. Additionally, Pastor Peterson started two mission churches, Peace Lutheran and Messiah Lutheran, both in Waldorf, MD.
In 1983 Pastor Peterson accepted a call to Redeemer Lutheran Church and Concordia Lutheran School, Hyattsville, MD. While there, he organized and chaired a Sunday School Convention for the Southeastern District (SED) of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS); initiated an African Immigrant Outreach ministry; celebrated the first Ethiopian worship services in the Amharic and Tigrinya languages; served as Chairperson of the Urban Task Force of LCMS; initiated the first Hispanic Outreach Ministry in the SED; and established Emmaus House (a shelter) as part of a building program.
In 1995 Pastor Peterson served as Interim Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School, Glen Burnie, MD. Then in 1996 Eric returned as Senior Pastor to Grace Lutheran Church and School, La Plata, MD. From 1999 to 2006 he helped to establish: the Mission Training Center at Concordia College, Bronxville, NY and the SED Training Leaders for Ministry program. At this time, Pastor Peterson became an adjunct faculty member of Concordia College, Bronxville, NY and was instrumental in bringing about the SED Training Leaders for Outreach program.
In 2007 Pastor Peterson retired from full-time pastoral ministries and moved to Ashburn, VA. He then worked for Capital Funding Services of the LCMS and joined the pastoral staff of Our Savior’s Way (OSW) Lutheran Church in Ashburn, VA. Over the course of the next 15 years at OSW he specialized in small group ministries (“Doing Life Together”), adult Sunday school, GriefShare and was instrumental in establishing the Muslim Mission Society—which was later renamed Salaam Isa (Peace of Jesus).
In all, Pastor Peterson celebrated 50 years of mission-minded ministry. He had a passion for people to know the love of Jesus. “Be strong and of good courage. Do not fear, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Pastor Peterson is survived by his wife Bobbie; daughter Kirsten Richter (Andrew); son Joshua Peterson (Jenae); three grandchildren (Julia, Laura and Luke Zanardi); and sister Judith Krull. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.
If you wish, memorial donations may be made to Our Savior’s Way Lutheran Church. They will benefit missions, GriefShare and Living With Cancer. Be sure to indicate Pastor Eric Peterson in the memo section.