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March 2, 1935 – July 24, 2023
Harold Peterson obit pic 1
Harold Peterson obit pic 2

Harold Don Peterson peacefully passed away Monday, July 24, 2023 at the age of 88 in Modesto, CA. Harold was born March 2, 1935 in Escalon, CA to Carl and Adeline Peterson. His name was Harold, but to everyone he was known simply as “Pete”. As a Peterson, he came from a long-established pioneering family in the town of Escalon. He lived in Escalon his entire life. Pete was always a competitive person. He played sports in grammar school and at Escalon High School. He was very athletic, being named “most valuable player” in basketball, football and baseball in the 1950’s. He turned down a basketball scholarship to Fresno State, choosing instead to stay locally and play basketball at Modesto Junior College. He earned his tw0-year degree in Agriculture, and then worked with his father who owned 100 acres of peaches locally. Even at an elderly age he was quite competitive. His competitive drive was fulfilled by participating in competition waterskiing. He was an active member in the community, being a longtime Lions Club member, and was a friend of the Historical Society.

His love of cars was well-known throughout the area. People from all over the region knew him as a man who had collected many rare automotive parts, which he enjoyed buying and selling. He was a regular at the Turlock swap meet. He collected and restored many classic Chevrolet’s. His favorite car was the Corvette, owning various models since he was a young man. His greatest joy in life was music. He had a lifelong love of big band swing music of the ‘30s and ‘40s. He had amassed a large collection of more than 100,000 records, which completely filled one of the bedrooms in his home. He shared his love of music every Sunday, having a radio show at the University of the Pacific, and later at Stanislaus State. His Sundays were committed to this for many decades. He was known as “Swinging Pete Peterson”. The music he played was accompanied by historical facts and interviews of family members of famous musicians of the era.

Pete is survived by his children, Bob Peterson, M.D. (Yen) of Oakdale, Phillip Peterson of Riverbank, Les Peterson of Modesto and Stefanie Molina of Petaluma; grandchildren include, Lisa Koehmstedt of Turlock, Sara Peterson of Kansas City, Amy Peterson of Oregon, Kari Larson and Drew Peterson; numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his sisters, Valerie Schulber and Carla Marlo.

Deegan Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Peterson family. A viewing and visitation was held Friday, August 11, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Deegan Funeral Chapel, 1441 San Joaquin St., Escalon. A memorial service will be held Friday, August 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at the Escalon United Methodist Church, 2000 Jackson Ave., Escalon followed by a graveside service at Burwood Cemetery. To send the family your condolences please visit Pete’s tribute page at

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

Aug. 16, 2023