Howard Clark "Pete" Peterson, Indianapolis, In (1929 - 2014)

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 6, 1929 - August 29, 2014

Howard Clark "Pete" Peterson, 84, passed on to be with his Lord, and dear family and friends who have gone before him, on August 29 after a lengthy illness. Pete was born September 6, 1929 in Janesville, Wisconsin to Peter Peterson and Mabel Marguerite (Rice) Peterson. He graduated from Janesville High School in 1948. Pete developed an entrepreneurial spirit at an early age. He applied his childhood experience peddling asparagus and apples from his family's farm in Janesville to becoming a success in the Indianapolis business arena. Pete lost his mother at a young age, and he credits caring and supportive teachers and a high school program called "Work Experience" with ultimately putting him on the path to success. By working outside of school, he earned high school credits and gained valuable skills. During the Work Experience program, Pete took a job with a company making concrete blocks. He learned to build basements and farm buildings while developing the social skills necessary for working with building contractors and owners. That experience would prove to be invaluable.

In 1949, Pete came to Indianapolis, met a builder in a subdivision, and at age 19, offered his services, quickly hiring a crew and beginning a career as a masonry contractor. That same year, he married his high school sweetheart, Lori, with whom he eventually had five children. In 1966, Pete began buying land for what would become Castleton Commercial Park, completing the first building in 1968. By the time he sold the park in 1985, in the largest private real estate transaction in the state up to that point, it had grown to 50 buildings with 1.3 million square feet spread over 160 acres. While the family business continued to grow with new office parks, industrial parks, housing developments, and other businesses, Pete "retired" in 1985 to pursue new passions with the same superhuman energy he had brought to the real estate business. He developed Viking Meadows Farm, a full-scale breeding and training operation for standard-bred racehorses. His contributions to the horse business led to him twice being named "Indiana Horseman of the Year." He and Lori began spending half of each year in Sarasota, Florida, where he developed a love of deep sea fishing. He enjoyed many years of designing his next fishing boat and participating in the sport fishing circuit in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic.

He continued to lend his development experience to many local projects including Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zionsville, Indiana. In 2002 he was named to Junior Achievement's Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame. Pete's transformative experience was his mid-life baptism at Pilgrim Lutheran Church on May 23, 1976.

Through personal giving and the Peterson Family Foundation, Pete and Lori donated to numerous local and regional causes in support of disadvantaged youth, seminary students and health care facilities. Pete's desire to give back to the school where it all began for him led to the development of a foundation which, through the Southern Wisconsin Community Foundation, administers college scholarships each year to a graduating senior from Janesville and Craig High Schools who are pursuing their education in construction management and related fields.

Pete called himself the "luckiest guy in the world" because he pursued his passions and inspired his children to do the same. He enjoyed spending time with his family, both at work and play. Pete is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Dolores Mable (Saxe) Peterson; children: Cheryl Stitt (Lawrence) of Noblesville, Timothy Peterson (Karen) of Carmel, Celeste Stiller (Michael) of Indianapolis, Bart Peterson (Amy) of Indianapolis, and Sandra Faust-Mesropian (Charles) of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 16 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by his parents, his brother Robert, and his first grandchild, Thomas Stitt.

Friends and family will gather for visitation on Thursday, September 4 between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm at FLANNER AND BUCHANAN-CARMEL, 325 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel, IN 46032. Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 5 at 11:00 am at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church, 11250 N. Michigan Road, Zionsville, IN 46077, with additional visitation at the church from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Gennesaret Free Clinics, 615 N. Alabama St, Ground Floor Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or Foundation for Lutheran Child and Family Services, 1525 N. Ritter Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46219.

Please visit flannerbuchanan.com to sign the online guest book.


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