Cover photo for James Evan Petersen's Obituary
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1928 James 2021

James Evan Petersen

October 26, 1928 — July 27, 2021

James Evan Petersen died Tuesday, July 27, 2021 in Montrose, CO surrounded by his family.

Jim was born October 26, 1928 to Evan and Pearl Wright Petersen in Las Animas, CO. After graduating from Bent County High School in 1946, he joined the Navy and was stationed at Whidbey Island.

On May 22, 1949, Jim and Janet June Eves were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas. In 1952, he graduated from the College of Emporia, KS, and with Janet and their growing family, moved to Chicago to attend McCormick Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he was ordained by the Pueblo Presbytery on May 13, 1956.

As a student, Jim was assigned to organize a suburban church. He knocked on doors in Lansing, IL, to canvas for interest and successfully established the First Presbyterian Church.

In 1966, Jim accepted a pastoral position at Ravenswood Presbyterian Church in Chicago. Notably, he led the church in uniting with a congregation of Central and South American and Cuban immigrants and in becoming a bilingual and bicultural church.

After a pastoral position at the First Presbyterian Church in Aberdeen, SD, Jim served as pastor of the Ouray Presbyterian Church from 1983 to 1988. He served at the Gateway Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs before being retired by the Pueblo Presbytery on May 1, 1991.

Upon retirement, Jim and Janet bought their dream property and built their home in Ridgway. Jim continued his service to the church with interim positions at churches in Telluride and Lake City. Jim and Janet helped to organize the United Church of the San Juans in Ridgway, CO.

Jim enjoyed outdoor adventures, his 1962 Willys jeep, family gatherings and being active in the church and community.

Jim suffered from dementia in his last years and he and his family met his decline with love and humor. We are indebted to the support and the friendly acceptance shown by neighbors, friends and family.

Jim is survived by his wife of 72 years, Janet; his children, Deborah Petersen Teal, Dorna (Alan Kightlinger), Judy (Ken Gwynn), Robert (Carrie) Petersen and Jane Petersen Maas; his honorary daughter Laura Pacetti (Bill Bickham); his siblings, Selena (Joe Keesecker), Sandra Taylor and John Petersen; his sister-in- law Jane Haflich; his 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and his grandchildren Brenna Eves Studer and Robert James Lee Petersen.

In keeping with his calling to serve others and in support of Selena and Joe Keesecker’s work with detainees, the family asks that memorial gifts be given to the immigrant detention ministry of the Guadalupe Presbyterian Church, Guadalupe, AZ. Your gift is tax deductible. Make checks out to Guadalupe Presbyterian Church and mail to:

James E Petersen Memorial Fund

o Keesecker

513 W. Latona Rd Phoenix, AZ 85041

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 28, at 10:30 am, at the Ridgway Athletic Park pavilion in Ridgway, CO.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Evan Petersen, please visit our flower store.


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