"Life is eternal" (it does not end here)
"Love is immortal" (it does not end here either. "We'll meet again")
Death is but a horizon, and the horizon is just the limit of our sight.
By Alexander Cameron "Poultry in the Pulpit"
"We who believe know that while this is the end of the chapter it is not the end of the book. One has many chapters still to write."
By Willie Barclay.
Delbert Peterson passed away on July 8th 2010 of natural causes at Renaissance Assisted Living Home in Great Falls.
We gather here to celebrate the 82 years that he spent here in Great Falls, Montana. He loved this town, even though he complained of the cold and of the wind, he loved the big skies, the blue mountains and the great outdoors. Delbert wasn't known to overly communicate his feelings, but if someone in his family or a friend needed support he would be there to the best of his abilities. Delbert was very generous too. He loved to share the fish he caught with neighbors & friends. He also enjoyed visits to the Hutterite's Farm where he would buy rolls & chickens enough to share with family & friends too.
He always bragged about his three beautiful girls and he always said how lucky he was to marry his beautiful Norwegian wife of 38 years, Luella Selnes. Lou was the huge stabilizer in his life and we all thought her passing would be the end for him but he surprised us all and managed better than any of us expected for the last 15 years…
Lets talk about Delbert's early life. He was known to his close friends as Pete, his brothers and some old friend's would call him Bum, not quite sure about the stories behind that nick name, though it was written all over the families old garage on the North West side of town.
Delbert Eugene Peterson was born to Eva Mae McKay Peterson and John Elmer Fridolf Peterson on Delbert's favorite holiday, Flag Day, June 14th 1928 in Great Falls, MT. He was the last born of six boys. Grandma Eva always said that the nurse knew she wanted a girl and after he was born the nurse jokingly said he was is the ugliest girl she have ever seen and then Eva joked back and said, "Go throw him out the window! " Delbert joined his brothers…
Lowell Fridolf Peterson born April 6th 1914 who passed in November 8th 1982
Lyle Elmer Peterson born October 22 1916 who passed September 26th 1989
Merle John Peterson Born June 21st 1919 who passed March 16th 2007
Dale Vernon Peterson born April 18th 1921 killed October 2, 1942 WW2 was missing in action over the Pacific.
Roderick Earl Peterson born March 16th 1925.
Some early stories told by Delbert include memories of Merle's & his pet red pigeon, Reno, Delbert said he could ride his bike with Reno staying on his head. Sadly one day Reno met his end when he flew off Dad's head into his Mom's kitchen and did what birds do, flew and then pooped into the stewing tomatoes on top of the stove. Lowell was home from the Army and Delbert's Mom had Lowell take care of the bird!
Delbert also liked to tell of when he & some friends were walking on the frozen Missouri River and he was hitting the ice in front of him with a stick, suddenly the stick went through the ice. Delbert and his friends instantly but slowly got down onto their bellies and then were lucky enough to make it back to shore while crawling over the cracking ice.
Delbert attended Great Falls schools and enjoyed commenting on the world events.
Delbert was a Sergeant in the US Army and served in France post WW2 during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged November 1952 and moved back to Big Sky Country.
After the army, Delbert held several different jobs. He was a bus driver for Yellowstone Park's many tourists a couple of seasons. Delbert would tell of asking the riders to bet how many bears they thought they would see during the tour, the average guess was 10 but they'd see 40-50 most trips. It is interesting to note that a few years after he worked summers in the park a Minnesotan by the name of Luella Selnes came out with her sister and worked at Mammoth Hotel. However, fate did not have these two meet at this particular point yet.
Delbert also worked for awhile as a Postman delivering mail. He left that job as he didn't enjoy being attacked by dogs or walking outside in the Montana winters all day.
He followed that job by becoming a member of the Teamsters Union and worked for American Linen over 20 years and while there he met his life long friend and cohort John Anderson. His last job was working as a custodian/maintenance man where he became a member of the Operating Engineers Union and worked up the street from his home on 25th Street North East, at the North Junior High school, where he started working in the mid 70's and then retired from in 1991.
Before that, however, Delbert met Luella who had recently moved to Great Falls with her sister Betty. They had decided to come to Great Falls as their older brother George was stationed at the base. Delbert & Luella finally met during a blind date arranged by Mary Purnell at the "romantic" Beacon Bar.
Delbert & Luella married with their first child, Debbie Lou being born on October 8th 1957.
On December 24th 1958 they had a stillborn full term son. Delbert's mother Eva took care of all the arrangements and Luella always talked about how kind Eva was through this difficult event.
One year later they welcomed into the world, Joanne Marie, born December 19th 1959.
Then the family was made complete when Judy Lynn was born on May 13th 1962, which happened to fall on Mother's Day and Luella always said it was her favorite Mother's Day gift!
While Luella taught Sunday School, Delbert provided the fishing lesson's. He may have had girls but they learned to clean & gut the trout and did such a good job he would usually just drive "Old Tennis Shoes" the boat and let the girls do the fishing. Delbert loved the outdoors and would say while we were fishing or camping "I wonder what the poor people are doing?"
Our family always had wonderful close relationships with all our cousin's and Aunts & Uncles. Delbert loved the family barbeques at Merle & Sig's and summer trips out to Minnesota and the many camping trips with the Merle Peterson's & the John Anderson families. Delbert always laughed at the memory of Karen catching a seagull in her fishing line at Hebgen Reservoir, she got lots of ribbing with that event. We enjoyed several Forth of July's at Uncle Mac & Aunt Mae McKay's cabin in Lincoln. Auntie Mae was a special Aunt to all the Peterson boys always making a special Birthday cake for them on their day while growing up.
Delbert would bring his family to visit his parents almost every Sunday night. We all have memories of 60 Minutes in color on their TV. Usually Thanksgivings would find Delbert's parents at his home.
Delbert loved to take family trips- the whole family took the truck & camper and traveled up to Canada and toured the Edmonton Zoo, camped in Banff and saw his mother's Eva Peterson's hometown in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. We traveled through the Waterton Parks and then a slow trip with time for day hikes in Glacier Park. Another very nice trip we took as a family was down and through Lewis & Clark Taverns, Virginia City and then several trips through Yellowstone where Delbert could once again play tour guide. Delbert's daughters appreciated the love he had for Montana and the nation's parks, installing in them, that great love also.
Can't talk about Delbert without talking about automobiles & later dogs.
Luella always talked about returning from her father's funeral in Minnesota on the train through Havre. Delbert was awaiting for her in his beautiful convertible. Mom walked around to the passenger side and the whole side had been totally destroyed by Delbert hitting the guard rail.
When Luella & Delbert first married they had a white & blue Chevy truck. In 1962 with Judy on the way they traded it in for a 1962 Chevy 2 wagon…nice vinyl seats, rubber matted flooring , 3 speed , no A/C…lucky Karen got to buy that car several years later!
Delbert also went through a series of Willy jeeps during this time. Then finally getting back to a white Chevy 66? Pickup…
We had replaced the Chevy 2 with a 68 Vista Cruiser, What an improvement, A/C, carpet, and deluxe Vinyl seats. Delbert always talked about buying American and then he decided the Vista Cruiser needed to be replaced with a Japanese 210 Datson…poor Luella, back to a 4 speed, and no A/C but she ended up loving that car. Can't say we'll ever forget the trip to Minnesota in the heat of the summer that Luella and her three girls and granddaughter Jennifer made in 1980. Oh man was it HOT! Then Lou had three other Buick's, brown, gray and her final plum one that the Anderson's bought after her passing in 1995.
Delbert replaced his Chevy with a green Dodge ¾ ton as it was better to carry the camper and after that truck he went through so many …we recall one Ford and then it is a blur after Lou's passing. Diesel's, jeep, a convertible, Buick, S10's, Blazer's…we always joked the dealerships loved to see him walk into the door.
When he finally gave up driving the big rigs he went to driving his scooter fulltime. Have you ever tried to keep up with him while he was driving that…it was something!
Delbert was always a dog lover and several passed through the household .
But one was truly the best and we had the longest, Katy, ½ Springer spaniel and ½ poodle he got her from an American Linen customer. Delbert said how she was so cold and scared when he drove her home from Cascade that he tucked her into his coat. We all just adored Katy, so did the neighbors as everyone would feed her as she visited door to door. For 11 years we had Miss Katy.
After the house was empty of us girls Delbert & Luella had a Shih Tzu named Bandit that they really enjoyed. After Luella died though, Delbert went through almost as many dogs as he did cars. Judy rescued one tiny Chihuahua that Delbert had had for just a few days from the dog pound…and Judy had Jelly Bean for along time.
After his wife, Luella died in 1995, Delbert traveled to Alaska on a tour bus and then did make several trips to Washington to visit his daughter Debbie. He also traveled to Minnesota with Judy when his Mother in-law, Lucille Selnes died. He eventually sold the house to Joanne & Scot and moved up to Eagle's Manor where his folks had lived for quite awhile. After a few years he moved to the Rainbow Retirement Home where he spent several years enjoying the company of his brother, Merle until he passed.
Delbert is survived by his three daughters, Debbie, husband Mark Jenson, Joanne and husband Scot Liggett and Judy and her husband Joel Williams.
Granddaughters, Jennifer and husband Marc Dershem, Nicole and husband Greg Hudson & Jessica Williams and also his grandson's Jayson Williams, Michael Liggett, Mark Jenson Jr., Kris Liggett and Kelly Liggett; three great grandsons, Kopper Holdorf, Griffin Dershem and Eli Hudson; and his brother, Rod Peterson.
He loved his beer, dogs and automobiles but he loved most his wife Luella Peterson, his three daughters and grandchildren all his nieces & nephews and all his close friends… thanks for coming and God Bless!
Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way that you always used. Put no difference in our tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed, at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Let my name be ever the household word it always was, let it be spoken without effect, without a trace of shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. ~Author unknown