Cover photo for Charlie Peterson Sr's Obituary
Charlie Peterson Sr Profile Photo

Charlie Peterson Sr

d. February 8, 2009


Charlie M. Petersen was born December 28, 1907 in Jackson, to Frank and Rena Petersen. He passed away Feb 8, 2009 at 101 years of age. He was born on the Petersen Ranch which was one of the last homesteads in the Elk Refuge. The day his mother went into labor it was a blizzard. His father went to get the doctor. The doctor said, " You'll have to put your wife on hold for a few days." Several days later, Mary Coffin, a midwife, came to help with the delivery and the doctor never did show up. He was the second of five children; Leonard, Charlie, Frankie, Martha and Myrtle.

Charlie spent his days growing up on the Petersen homestead. One day, he and his brother, Leonard, were sent out to the wood pile to get kindling. Charlie was holding the wood, Leonard was chopping and accidentally got Charlie's three middle fingers in the way of the ax. As Charlie, only three years old, ran to the house, he fell, and broke the splintered bones in one finger. His mother pushed the broken bones back together, she then poured turpentine & sugar on the fingers and wrapped the wounds in a clean white cloth. It time it healed and only a few scars remained to show for it.

He attended Flat Creek School thru the eighth grade, which was two miles away. Most of the time they walked or skied, if the weather was really cold, his father took them in the sleigh. In his high school years he rode his horse seven miles to get to school in Jackson staying in town during the week when the weather was bad. Charlie played basketball on the 1st high school team in 1926 and graduated that same year. He also loved to play baseball and hockey. On his 101st birthday one of the things he told us was that he was the goalie for the hockey team. He was very proud to be a part of the traveling teams.

On May 1, 1930, he and Hilda Jones were married in Salt Lake City, Utah. Charlie & Hilda lived at the Petersen Homestead in a cabin that he had built. Summers were spent doing ranch work. Charlie and Leonard would sneak off to fish in the Flat Creek Swamp whenever they could get away with it. Winters on the ranch were spent trapping muskrats, beaver, & hunting coyotes. One winter Charlie trapped 400 muskrats and sold them for 10 cents apiece. Charlie enjoyed outfitting like his father. One of his hunters was Jack O'Conner, a writer for Outdoor Life. Jack wrote about his elk, moose & big horn sheep hunts in Jackson Hole with Charlie Petersen in 1944 and 1945.

In 1939 the family, which now included Charlie Jr. & Bruce, moved to town. They lived in a cabin which had been moved to town from the ranch. They always had a garden, a milk cow and chickens. Work began on their home when Charlie dug the basement using a fresno & winch. This was quite a job in the rocky ground. The family went to the timber and got trees which were taken to the local sawmills to be sawed into boards for the frame house. One year Charlie & Charlie Jr, both worked at the saw mill to pay for this. Charlie had inherited money from an uncle which he used to pay for the windows & insulation. By 1947, they were living in the basement of the house. By this time, daughter Rena, had been added to the family. The ensuing years were filled with family activities.

Charlie had many jobs during his life. They included working at a hardware store, helping the undertaker, working as a carpenter, he was an outfitter & for many years managed the Cowboy Bar and was even a part owner of the bar at one time. For several years he served as a justice of the peace. He & Hilda also owned The Smart Shop.

Hunting & fishing were necessities, which he loved and enjoyed with all his family. Charlie took a lot of pride hunting with his sons and helping his son, Charlie with his hunting camp. As grandchildren came along, he took them to the lake in the snow plane or in the boat, depending on the season. He always loved to entertain his brothers, sisters, nieces & nephews, either with a fishing trip or a great meal. On many occasions the family would gather together for a family meal or picnic.

After retirement, he & Hilda traveled to visit family. He pursued his hobbies and was famous for his jerky & salami. Wherever they went, he would talk to people who made salami, them come home and try something new, until he refined his recipe. He also enjoyed gardening and had a wonderful raspberry patch. Woodworking was something else he enjoyed. Every corner in their home had a built in cupboard to fit the space. One time, a grandson broke his leg and there were no crutches his size, so Charlie made a set.

He and Hilda enjoyed many activities and meals at the Senior Center. One year, he was the cribbage champion.

In 1998, Hilda passed away after 68 years of marriage. He continued to enjoying the Senior Center and remained in their home for another 7 years.

He is survived by sons, Charlie, his wife(Ada), and Bruce of Jackson and daughter, Rena, her husband(Bob) Croft of Lovell, Wyoming and a sister, Martha Winner of Burbank, California, 15 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, 12 great-great grandchildren & many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Rena, his wife, Hilda, two brothers Leonard and Frankie & one sister, Myrtle, and daughter in law, Audrey.

Funeral services will be on Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 1:30 P.M. at the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole on South Park Loop Road. A visitation will be 1 hour prior to the funeral at the church. Burial will be in the Aspen Hill Cemetery in Jackson.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charlie Peterson Sr, please visit our flower store.


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