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Noel C. Peterson

1933 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Noel C. Peterson Obituary
Noel C. Peterson, 83, a lifelong resident of La Plata County, passed away in his home on May 2, 2017 after a prolonged illness. Noel was born at Mercy Hospital on August 24, 1933 to Clive and Fay Peterson. He spent his childhood working on his parents' ranch in the Marvel area, and later in Bayfield. Consequently, he developed a lifelong love for horses and cattle ranching.
Noel graduated from Bayfield High School in 1951. He went on to get his Associate's Degree from Ft. Lewis College when it was located in Hesperus, and his Bachelor's Degree from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. Between his tenures at Ft. Lewis and CSU, he served in the U.S. Army at various U.S. bases and then in Germany.
In 1958, he married Virginia Montgomery in Akron, Colorado. Noel and Virginia settled on Florida Mesa. Noel worked as a materials engineer for the Colorado Department of Highways (later Colorado Department of Transportation) for 37 years. Part of his responsibilities included triggering avalanches poised above southern Colorado highways to prevent them from or injuring motorists. Noel spent many hours on Wolf Creek and Red Mountain passes in the worst conditions when the passes were closed, shooting down avalanches with a howitzer and small missile launchers. By the time he retired, he was initiating snowslides by dropping charges from a helicopter.
In his leisure time, Noel enjoyed riding horses, roping, and herding cattle. He was a master irrigator, and took great pride in his lush pastures and hayfields. He spent most of his life either wearing cowboy boots or irrigating boots. Noel made sure his neighbors had the irrigating water they needed in the summer, and that their driveways were plowed in the winter. He derived great satisfaction from the relationships developed with his rural neighbors.
Noel is survived by his wife of 59 years, Virginia, and their children: Kristin Saenz (Rando) of San Antonio, Texas; Karen Schmader (Steve) of Boise, Idaho; Daniel Peterson (Cindy) of Starkville, Mississippi; and Dale Peterson (Jennifer) of Longmont, Colorado, and eight grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Hilda Wales (Don) of Albuquerque. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Wanda McConnel.
There will be a celebration of the life of Noel Peterson from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 16 at The Patio Restaurant, 85 Goddard Avenue, in Ignacio. Noel's favorite pies will be served in a welcoming location where he regularly met friends for coffee. His family encourages his friends and family to save the date and join them at The Patio in July.
Published in The Durango Herald on May 5, 2017
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