Date of Birth

November 24, 1933

Date of Death

April 13, 2022

Kenneth Peterson, age 88, of Hampshire, was released into Heaven, Wednesday, April 13, 2022, lifted by the love and prayers of his family.

He was born November 24, 1933 in Woodbine, IA, to proud and loving parents, Fred and Helen Peterson.

Ken grew up in Woodbine, IA and graduated from Woodbine High School with the class of 1952.

He continued his education on a football scholarship to Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, IA. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Ken enlisted in the United States Air Force. After faithfully serving his country, Ken moved his new bride to Osceola, IA, where he taught physics and geometry, and coached girls’ basketball at Osceola High School. The young family then moved to Tulsa, OK, where he built his flight time to obtain his pilot’s license, leading them to move to Omaha, NE, where he flew charter planes as well as becoming a flight instructor. He found training and employment as a commercial airline pilot with United Airlines in May, 1964, and flew with them for the next 30 years from O’Hare Airport, Chicago, until his retirement in November, 1993.

Ken and Shirley (Keiser) met through mutual friends in Omaha, NE, and whether it was his pilot’s wings, his uniform or that winning smile, Ken and Shirley’s love took off, landing them at the altar on August 10, 1958. They began their new life together in Osceola for a time before touching down temporarily in Tulsa, OK, before moving to Omaha, NE, for a few years. The now growing family moved to Denver for commercial pilots training with United Airlines, before moving to the Chicago area. Ken and Shirley lived in Streamwood and Elgin for time before buying a farm in Hampshire where Ken built them a house and Shirley made it another home.

Ken’s trade was as a pilot, but farming was in his blood since his youth, and he farmed and tended his animals right up to his last day.

In his younger years, Ken was a strong supporter and member of the Young Republicans. His faith in Jesus Christ began to grow after he was baptized during his college days. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Streamwood, IL, and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burlington, IL, where he served as an Elder. In recent years the family worshipped at Country Evangelical Covenant Church in Campton Hills, IL.

Family was very important to Ken, and many trips were taken back to Iowa for reunions. His mind was sharp, and his hands were tough, building two family homes. He could build a fence straight and true, almost with his eyes closed. He cared for two teams of draft horses, one of Percherons and later one of Belgians, both of which led his family on countless hayrides. Ken enjoyed the quiet nature of gardening, harvesting and canning hundreds of tomatoes; but cheered the loudest at his grandchildren’s baseball and soccer games, and valiantly watched their musical theater productions. They had a stallion for breeding and both Ken and Shirley enjoyed traveling to horse shows in Waverly, IA. Ken rarely stopped working but when he did, you could find him at coffee with his friends or watching sports of all kinds. No one could ever take the place of Ken or the love he gave in service and friendship to others, and he will be missed greatly.    

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 63 years, Shirley Peterson; two children: Denise Wandell and Diana (Jerry) Holmer; 6 grandchildren: Jessica (Joe) Young, Adam (Jamie) Wandell, Lauren (J.B.) Boyd, Zachary (Elizabeth) Holmer, Nicholas (Lauren) Holmer and Nathan Holmer; 5 great-grandchildren: Hannah, Barrett, and Lily Young, Violet Boyd and Tristan Holmer; two sisters: Violet Finken and Phyllis Ballard; his in-laws: Ron and Rita Keiser, and John and Holly Keiser; many nieces, nephews for whom he was “Uncle Kenny”;  and a family of friends.  

He now joins his parents, Fred and Helen Peterson; a son-in-law, Barry Wandell; three brothers: LaVern, Edward and Richard Peterson and one sister, Carolyn Beaman, who preceded him in death.

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at the Country Evangelical Covenant Church, 43W510 McDonald Rd., Campton Hills, IL 60124. Visitation will resume Wednesday, April 20, also at the church, from 10-11 a.m., with a service to celebrate his faith beginning at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Baker Cemetery, Plato Twp.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Country Evangelical Covenant Church. Memories and Tributes may be left on the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at the Country Evangelical Covenant Church, 43W510 McDonald Rd., Campton Hills, IL 60124. Visitation will resume Wednesday, April 20, also at the church, from 10-11 a.m., with a service to celebrate his faith beginning at 11 a.m.

4 thoughts on “KENNETH PETERSON

  1. Dear family of Kenneth Peterson,
    We are so sorry for your loss of your father and grandfather, but rejoice that he is with his Lord and Savior in heaven now. We remember meeting Ken at Nathan’s high school graduation, and enjoying his stories and hearing of his love of his family. We are praying for all of you now as you grieve his loss. With love & prayers, Tom & Sharon

  2. hello Ken it was a pleasure to meet you, now you left for your last flight may the Lord Jesus welcome you in his arms and may he gives serenity to all your family good bye Ken see you in Heaven

  3. Dear Diana and Family,
    Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your dad. Carlos and I met your dad briefly at the graduation party of one of your sons. We could tell he was full of vitality and loved his life in the country. Praising God that he is now in his eternal home.
    Love, Carlos and Ardie Cortes

  4. I had told Uncle Ken that I thought he was the nicest uncle, but I have never shared with him or anyone else my memories of him at his wedding. I think of this memory often and was going to share this little story with him next time I saw him; but alas he’ll have to read it in text now. Everyone was excited about his wedding. My little sister was the flower girl. I knew I wasn’t pretty enough and too old to be a flower girl so that was OK. My goodness was everyone giving her a lot of attention! She was the flower girl so that was OK. She got this beautiful fairy-tale pink dress to wear. Of course, I was jealous and wanted one too; but she really looked pretty so that was OK too. She got a pretty basket with flower petals in it. That was part of being a flower girl so that was OK also. Then someone gave her a very beautiful new doll that I thought was too big for her to handle and I didn’t get one. I lost it – that was too much! – I couldn’t handle it and started crying. I think that since I was finally getting SOME attention, the crying turned into a tantrum. I’m not sure how many people tried to quiet and console me but I kept crying. Then Uncle Kenney came and sat quietly next to me. I don’t remember what he said but it was in such a comforting voice that I realized I was being a brat and soon calmed down. I will always remember Uncle Ken as a kind, caring, gentle man.

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