Robert

April 9, 1921 ~ March 5, 2021

Born in: Los Angeles, California
Resided in: Redondo Beach, California

Robert (Bob) LaMar Peterson was born in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 1921 to Giselle and Edgar Peterson. He peacefully passed away at his daughter’s Redondo Beach home on March 5, 2021, 34 days before his 100th birthday, after a short illness.

As a young boy he started a lifelong hobby, playing a mellophone and later the French Horn, first performing in a boys youth band at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics Opening Ceremonies. He attended Fremont High School and Los Angeles City College. He met and began dating AdaBelle Smith at a Methodist Youth Group in early 1940.

In World War II, he joined the United States Coast Guard and while stationed at Terminal Island, married his sweetheart, AdaBelle, on Halloween, 1942, the first day he could get leave. They were married for 65 years. He soon was shipped to MIT to learn a top secret technology, becoming a LORAN Operator. After being stationed in New York, he spent the last 14 months of the European war stationed on a small peninsula in Greenland sending navigational LORAN signals to Allied ships transiting the North Atlantic. While the isolation had a profound impact on him, he said he was one of a fortunate few WWII veterans who never heard a gun fired in anger.

Upon discharge, Bob returned home to be re-introduced to his daughter, Jean, whom he had not seen since her birth. His father-in-law helped him find a job at the Los Angeles Examiner, where he took over publishing a house-organ directed to the many newspaper boys employed at that time. The quality of his work attracted management attention and, in 1948, he was offered the newspaper dealership in the South Bay, moving his now two children, Jean and Steve, and wife AdaBelle to Hermosa Beach, California.

The growing South Bay area and Bob’s hard work resulted in his dealership becoming the largest in the Los Angeles Examiner (later Herald-Examiner) network. He enjoyed teaching 12 and 13 year olds how to make money selling and delivering newspapers, and at the peak managed over 80 boys, from Manhattan Beach El Porto to Palos Verdes, California.

In 1950, Bob joined Hermosa Beach Rotary, where he remained an active member until his passing. His gregarious nature and great storytelling earned him many Rotarian friends not just locally but around the world. One of his great Rotary memories was attending the 1957 Rotary International Convention in Lucerne, Switzerland hearing Hellen Keller give the Keynote.

In 1950, Bob attended the first rehearsal of the newly formed Beach Cities Symphony. He played his French Horn in nearly every concert over the next 70 years, including the most recent before the COVID hiatus in November 2019. Bob was the Symphony’s Board President for many years. He also played in various Community Theater Orchestras, Church Orchestras and his own Freeman-Valley Woodwind Quintet.

The First United Methodist Church in Redondo Beach also has played a key role in Bob’s life from the time his young family joined in the 1950’s. He became one of its lay leaders and the Church family gave him warm support and strength over the years.

He was a Board Member of the Redondo Beach Salvation Army, for many years and, with fellow Rotarian Mick Felder (deceased) delivered Meals On Wheels.

Bob’s second career began in 1971 when fellow church member Ron Day asked him to join White & Day Mortuary by becoming the General Manager at Pacific Crest Cemetery in Redondo Beach, California. His business acumen and compassionate nature suited him well as he counseled distraught families in burying their loved ones. He retired after 20 years.

Bob is preceded in death by his sister Marjorie Peterson, wife AdaBelle, and grandson Jeffrey Dorler. He is survived by his daughter Jean Chamberlin and husband John Delaney, son Steve Peterson and wife Julia Fretschl, grandson Eric Dorler and wife Danielle, granddaughter Rachael Thompson and husband Tim, grandson Cory Peterson and wife Reyna, along with four great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Also greatly missing Bob is the second love of his life, Audrie Wing.

Because of COVID restrictions, services will be private. Those who wish to honor Bob are encouraged to give to his favorite charities: the Rotary Club of Hermosa Beach Foundation (hermosabeachrotary.org ), The Beach Cities Symphony Association (beachcitiessymphony.org), the First United Methodist  Church of Redondo Beach (fumcrb.org ), the Salvation Army Redondo Beach (redondobeach.salvationarmy.org).

 

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  1. candle 7I met Bob at the Hermosa Beach Rotary clubhouse in October 2003 and a marvelous friendship emerged from that chance meeting. He was not only my Rotary mentor, but a caring and thoughtful advocate who encouraged me in everything that I do. His passing leaves a deep hole in my life but his wise words and enthusiastic love for life will remain with me forever.

  2. candle 6Only saw Bob at the company Christmas party he always was such a friendly guy we would talk of the good old days
    Steve Bopp

  3. candle 2Pat and Jim Mack
    We’ve known Bob for more than 55 years as a friend, fellow musician, and a great human being. While we performed with Bob many times in many places, he was always ready to help out when assistance was needed and never failed to do his best. RIP

  4. candle 4Bob and I played together in the Beach Cities Symphony for 45 years. A couple of years ago, Bob and I carpooled to a Beach Cities Symphony Board meeting, and Bob did the driving (he was about 98 at the time). I will always remember Bob’s gentle manner, generosity and friendliness. I will miss him!

  5. candle 6I met Bob at the Methodist Church in Redondo Beach. His daughter, Jeanne were in MYF together. Years later, Bob and I worked together as choir director and French horn player at the same church. His wife, AdaBelle sang in the choir. One of the all time good guys. We needed him.

  6. candle 7I met Bob when I transferred to First United Methodist Church Redondo Beach 12 years ago. I was amazed at how much energy he had and his uplifting humor. He brought happiness to everyone her come in contact with. He loved the church and made it a special place. We will all miss him and have been blessed to know and work with him. He is home with the lord now but still present with us.

  7. candle 7I met Bob when I transferred to First United Methodist Church Redondo Beach 12 years ago. I was amazed at how much energy he had and his uplifting humor. He brought happiness to everyone her come in contact with. He loved the church and made it a special place. We will all miss him and have been blessed to know and work with him. He is home with the lord now but still present with us.

    Eloise Elder

  8. candle 1I met Bob (and sat in front of him in the woodwind section) beginning in 1999 when I was 28 and he had to be right around 79! Though there were 50 years separating us, we always had stories to swap, as Bob was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the honor to meet! HE CERTAINLY was one of the nicest, kindest, and most generous. Always a gentleman and funny as heck, he was A TRUE MENSCH – how many others can say they volunteer like he did and LITERALLY leads a life of service, starting with serving our country? Bob was one of a kind and it was an honor to play in various quintets with him, play in the Beach Cities Symphony Orchestra with him, serve on the board with him, but really it was JUST AN HONOR TO KNOW HIM! I’m so glad that BCSO honored him while he was alive and he got to enjoy it. On more than one occasion he said how grateful he was and how much fun he had at the BCSO 70th year gala – honoring him and the orchestra since he was the only remaining charter member! Bob is beloved, he is loved and he is missed.

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