CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif.—Richard William Peterson died on April 30, 2011, in his home almost a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
Bill surrendered his life to the Lord at age 9 and not many years after sensed a call to the ministry. After spending most of his childhood in Storden, Minn., his family moved to Casper, Wyo., where he met his future bride, Karen. They married in 1968, shortly after he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Five weeks before their first child was born, Bill was sent to Vietnam, where he served as a radio teletype operator until August 1969. In the following years, Bill worked as a machinist.
In 1980 Bill responded to the Lord’s earlier call to ministry, and over the next 30 years would pastor a number of churches in California. He preached his final sermon on April 10, 2011. Ever the pastor, he remained concerned with the lives and spiritual well-being of those around him to the very end.
Bill founded the California Association of Regular Baptist Churches Church Plant Fund. When a church in California closed, the Petersons led the congregation to begin this fund to help church plants in the state.
Bill is survived by his wife of 43 years, Karen; four daughters, Jenny Rudkin, Lori Walsh, LaVonne Bennett, and Liz Peterson; his mother, Virginia Peterson; his siblings, Bob Peterson, Barbara Templeman, Becky Lopez, and Bonnie Wiese; and 12 grandchildren.