December 14, 1921 - October 5, 2021
Guy Hall “Pete” Peterson, age 99, of Marion, IL, passed away peacefully at 6:25 AM on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, in the Marion Veterans Administration Community Living Center. He was born on December 14, 1921, in Johnson County, IL, the son of Otto and Pearl (Oliver) Peterson. “Pete”, as he was known, attended grade through high school in Creal Springs, IL, until 1937. He attended Marion Township High School for his senior year, graduating from MTHS in 1939. Reared during the Depression, he worked his way through 2 years of college at Southern Illinois University, earning a teaching certificate. He taught one year at White Oak School in Williamson County, then answered the call of duty by enlisting in the Army just 10 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Pacific Theater during WWII from October 1942 until February 1946. While serving his country, Pete put his training as an educator to good use. He was able to provide reading instruction to other soldiers. He was assigned to General Douglas MacArthur’s Quartermaster Corps. While with liberation forces in the Philippines, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his part in the recapture of the island of Luzon from the Japanese. Additionally, Sergeant Peterson earned a good conduct medal for his service. Peterson was honorably discharged in February 1946 with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Pete returned home to renew his teaching career as teacher at Hailey School in Williamson County, Illinois; then serving as teacher, principal and coach at Buncombe, Crainville and Energy in his early years. He completed his bachelor’s degree in 1953 from SIU and his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 1957 from SIU. He earned advanced certifications from the University of Illinois and SIU. He applied for the principalship, teacher and coach position at Creal Springs School in 1959, and began what would be his greatest legacy. Mr. Peterson was united in marriage to Thelma Yolonde Byassee on August 8, 1951, in Benton, Illinois, and together, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. This match made in Heaven actually began in 1946 when he was a new, young teacher at Yolonde’s school. It is known that Pete was always a fan of wheels and fast cars, so it is not surprising that some of his first words to Yolonde were, “I like your new bike.” Mr. Peterson was a teacher, coach, and administrator for more than 47 years, and coordinator of all grade groups, serving on numerous varied curriculum committees. His career included schools at Buncombe, Energy, Crainville, Pittsburg, Jefferson Elementary in Marion, and Creal Springs K-8. Pete was a successful coach for the Creal Springs boys’ team for many years. In 1979, Pete began the most rewarding years of his career as he reformed the Creal Springs Lionettes girls’ basketball team. Coach Peterson embraced this new coaching position and took these young girls to mold, raise and love. He required the girls to practice indoors for 4 years before he would schedule a competitive game with other schools’ teams. Pete would arrange for the Marion Jr. High’s boys’ team to come and scrimmage at their gym in Creal Springs. He always told the girls, “You learn more from losing than winning.” One Lionette team member reflected, “Mr. Peterson took us in, and we basically had nothing, and he turned us into ‘Millionaires’. We slept with basketballs. Coach Peterson was our idol.” Pete had a positive impact on hundreds of young athletes. Mr. Pete Peterson is one of the winningest coaches in the State of Illinois. He was inducted into the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004. The gymnasium at Creal Springs was named in honor of the infamous Mr. Guy “Pete” Peterson. Career totals: 806 wins and 183 Losses He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Marion and served the community in many ways. Pete was a 25-year member of the Marion Carnegie Library Board and member of the Marion Cultural and Civic Center Foundation. Under Mayor Bob Butler, Pete helped head up the first committee to establish enterprise zones in Marion. He also was a former member of Marion Rotary Club, a lifetime member of the Illinois Principals Association (IPA), and a member and president of the Schoolmasters’ Club. He received the Marion Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for his 47 years of service in the field of education. Together Mr. and Mrs. Peterson sponsored groups of high school students to study abroad. As teachers, tour guides, and administrators for ten cultural tours to Europe and the Middle East, they expanded world horizons to many. Mr. Peterson was an avid runner (rain or shine) and recorded over 50,000 miles and 200+ running shoes. He prided himself in a beautiful lawn and an extensive rock garden. Pete was always a kid at heart. Many days he would be found pulling wagons or climbing trees with the neighbor kids. He is survived by his wife, Yolonde Byassee Peterson of Marion; nephews, James and wife Linda Byassee of Marion, Don Byassee of Marion, Bob Davis and wife Connie of Marion and Tim Gentry of Marion; nieces, Robbi Davis Clark and husband Dave of Indianapolis, IN, Barbara Gentry Newsom and husband Gene of Toms River, NJ, Kara Cox Santi of Marion, Bari Lynn Musgrove and husband Jim of Belleville, IL and Cammy and husband Mark Duggins of Golconda, IL; great nieces and nephews, Elizabeth and husband Jeff Shore of Marion, Amanda and husband Ashley Gott of Marion, Margaret and Shawn Edmondson of O’Fallon, MO, E.J. and Amanda Byassee of Marion, Kevin and wife Mary Cox of Arnold, MD; great-great nieces and nephews, Benjamin Shore of St. Louis, MO, Victoria Shore of Marion, Jamie, Alex and Jeremy Gott of Marion, Henry and Evangeline Edmondson of O’Fallon, MO, Rylee and Jason Byassee of Marion, Max and wife Natacha Duggins of Charlotte, NC, Samuel Duggins of Long Beach, MS, Nico Santa of Marion and great-great-great nephew, Silas Duggins of Charlotte, NC. He also leaves dear friends; John and Jenna (De Mattei) Fletcher and David Fletcher, Caroline (Fletcher) and husband Austin Mallow all of Marion, Gina (De Mattei) and husband Larry Crippen of Mooresville, NC, Dr. Clay and Lety De Mattei of Marion, Johnny De Mattei of Berthoud, CO, Mike and Ronda De Mattei of Marion, J.J. and Teresa De Mattei of Centralia, Ed and Gloria Davis of St. Louis. Mr. Peterson was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings; Jim Peterson, Vera Peterson Gentry, Helen Peterson Davis, and Betty Jean Peterson Cox. The family is grateful the dedicated staff at the VA Medical Center and CLC in Marion for their loving care of Sergeant Peterson and Hero’s Homecoming service. Special thanks go to Dr. Clinton Mohr, Dr. Jan Bowman, Telly Allen, Amy O’Keefe, his nurse Sally, and many more. Arrangements were entrusted to Wilson-McReynolds Funeral Home, 900 North Court Street, Marion, IL. The visitation was on Sunday, October 10, 2021, from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at the funeral home. During the time of visitation, a “Reflection of Life” DVD Memorial Tribute featuring special people, places and events in Pete’s life was presented to the family and friends. Following the visitation, the funeral service was at 2:00 pm with Dr. Bob Dickerson presiding. The service began with Bag Piper Paul Thompson piping the selection “Amazing Grace.” Others participating in the service with the sharing memories were; The Honorable Amanda Byassee Gott representing the family, Ed Davis and Lety DeMattie representing friends, Elizabeth Byassee Shore and Dr. Loren Taylor representing former students and Becky Duty representing the Creal Springs Lionettes. All the Lionettes attending were recognized by standing and playing a portion of the song “We Are the Champions” by Queen. The time of sharing concluded with Margaret Byassee Edmondson also sharing memories and was assisted by her daughter Evangeline Edmondson in leading the congregation singing the song “Green Eggs and Ham.” The prelude and postlude musical selections were presented by pianist, Judy Hopkins. Special instrumental musical selections presented during the service were; “Morning Has Broken” by Kevin Cox on the Clarinet with pianist Judy Hopkins accompanying and vocal musical selection “On Eagle’s Wings” by Amanda Byassee Gott with pianist Judy Hopkins accompanying. Interment followed in Rose Hill Cemetery of Marion, IL. Pallbearers were Ashley Gott, Jeff Shore, Kevin Cox, Benjamin Shore, David Fletcher and E. J. Byassee. Honorary pallbearers were James Byassee, Don Byassee, John Fletcher, Dr. Clay DeMattei, Ed Davis and Dr. Loren Taylor. Other honorary pallbearers were members of “Pete’s Creal Springs Lionettes.” At the cemetery Piper Paul Thompson piped “Mo Ghile Mear”, that means “My Gallant Hero”, leading the procession to the gravesite and in between the military and religious committal service at the cemetery he piped “Abide With Me.” Military honors were accorded at the graveside by members of Marion VFW Heyde Pillow Post No. 1301 Funeral Honors Detail and members of the United States Army Funeral Honors Detail. Following the committal service at the cemetery the family and friends gathered at First Baptist Church of Marion, for a meal and continued time of fellowship and support. The family requested for those who preferred, memorial contributions be given to the newly formed Guy “Pete” Peterson Scholarship Fund. Memorial contributions were mailed in care of Wilson-McReynolds Funeral Home, 900 N. Court Street, Marion, IL, 62959 or James Byassee, 802 E. Gregory Avenue, Marion, IL 62959. Memorial envelopes are available at the funeral home. For additional information call the funeral home at 618-993-2131.
Guy Hall “Pete” Peterson, age 99, of Marion, IL, passed away peacefully at 6:25 AM on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, in the Marion Veterans Administration Community Living Center. He was born on December 14, 1921, in Johnson County,... View Obituary & Service Information
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