Augustana Mourns the Loss of A. Richard Petersen ('Pastor Pete')
The Augustana University community is mourning the loss of our friend and colleague, “Pastor Pete,” who died Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Dougherty Hospice House. Services were held on Sunday, Aug. 26, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. In 1960, Pastor A. Richard Petersen became the first college chaplain at Augustana and served 30 years with the campus community as dean of men, dean of students, assistant football coach, assistant athletic director and professor emeritus of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
Pete was born July 19, 1929, in Minneapolis to Alfred and Silpa Petersen. When he was an infant, the family moved to Easton, California, where his father served a parish. In 1940, the family returned to Minneapolis, where Pete graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1947 and from Augsburg College in 1951, where music and athletics played an important role in his school life.
Pete married Beverly Jensen on June 13, 1952, in Minneapolis. He attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was ordained in 1955 in Brookings, South Dakota, where he became associate pastor at First Lutheran Church and later the Lutheran pastor at South Dakota State University. In 1957, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to become pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church.
Pete also served on many boards and had leading roles in several Augustana theatre productions, in addition to being active in the Sioux Falls Community Playhouse and the Sioux Valley Auxiliary, where he starred in such plays as “The King and I,” “1776” and “My Fair Lady.”
After retirement in 1990, Pete and Beverly enjoyed traveling and visiting Major League Baseball stadiums and state capitols. They also visited Denmark twice, which gave them a fresh perspective for their family history books, and Northern Minnesota was a popular spot for celebrating milestone birthdays and anniversaries with the family.
Pete also volunteered at church, in the community and with college activities. With his active presence in Sioux Falls and many duties at Augustana, he was beloved as a mentor, coach, inspiration and role model, in addition to being an example to his extended family of what a life well lived represents.
Grateful for sharing Pete’s life are his wife, Beverly and four children who are Augustana grads; two daughters, Wendy Hasche (Bruce) and Sara; two sons, Alan and Wayne (Kelly) and six grandchildren.
The family requests that memorials be sent to the A. Richard "Pastor Pete" and Beverly Petersen scholarship fund at Augustana University or the Our Saviors Lutheran Foundation.