Karl Raymond Peterson of Providence, UT passed away peacefully, from natural causes due to old age, on October 30, 2021 with his beloved granddaughter, Paige, by his side. Karl, the eldest child of Raymond Parley and Zora Poulsen Peterson, was born January 9, 1934, at the family home in Montpelier, Idaho. He was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. His life education was on the small family farm where he farmed with horses, milked cows, and contributed to the welfare of his parents and five siblings. He learned to drive a team of horses, alongside his dad, at a very young age putting up hay throughout the Bear Lake valley. That proved to be one of the “Joys” of his life. His parents taught him the value of hard work and Karl set that example throughout his lifetime. His parents also taught him that neighbors were friends, and everyone helped one another.
Karl’s love of horses began during his childhood and never stopped. When Karl needed a break from school or from life’s troubles, his solution was to saddle up his horse and “head for the hills!” This always proved to be just the solution he needed. Karl emulated and loved this saying; “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” Although Karl suffered several very serious childhood diseases, his bout with Polio in 1950 brought changes that affected him the rest of his life. He loved to play the trumpet and had a beautiful singing voice. He also excelled in athletics and especially loved to play football. After recovering from polio, he retained his love of football, but had to alter other passions. The polio had left him with a paralyzed vocal cord and he was unable to play music or to sing anymore. One of the greatest memories, that will be cherished by all members of his family, is the yearly birthday phone call and Karl singing the whole song of “Happy Birthday” in his signature gruff voice.
He graduated from Montpelier High School in 1952 and then attended Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah where he remarkably played football for two years before serving an LDS mission in the Eastern States. He spent both mission summers at the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, farming and preparing the acreage for the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant. It was there that he met Donna Jean Brown, a sister missionary, from Manti, Utah who became his eternal companion. After they completed their honorable missions, they were married for time and all eternity on March 17, 1956 in the Manti Temple.
Karl and Jean returned to college in Logan, and soon became Head Residents of three new women’s dorms at USU—Reeder, Greaves, and Moen and they were eventually blessed with six children. Although Karl planned to be a Vo-Ag teacher, he was asked to move to Panguitch, Utah, by Boyd K. Packer, to be an LDS Seminary teacher in 1958 to help with the youth in that community. As he began his career as a seminary teacher, he finished his Vo-Ag Bachelor’s degree by mail from USU. Later in life, he returned to USU and completed his Master’s Degree in history. He taught in Panguitch for 3 years but made a lasting impact on the students and people who lived there and were lucky enough to cross paths with Karl. As a Seminary teacher, he spent 3 years in Panguitch and then returned to Cache Valley with his family and taught at four different high schools. His students remember him fondly for his handshake and lingering grip. Their most treasured memory of Brother Peterson was his commonsense approach to teaching religion. He was known as the “Cowboy seminary teacher” and there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t wear his cowboy boots to school. He spent a total of 38 years working for the Church Educational System. The first 30 years in the classroom teaching highschool students and the last 8 years were spent teaching the young mothers, terminally ill and the incarcerated. He said that it was the last 8 years of his career that taught him how to be a Christian.
Karl loved his family and his students. A big man with powerful hands that showed the effects of years of hard work. Outside of the classroom, Karl’s passion for horses provided additional income for his growing family which included shoeing horses every night after school and on Saturdays. He had a talent for breaking colts, training reining horses, western pleasure and halter horses with a lot of success, trophies and ribbons in the arena. Karl’s interest in horses soon shifted when Valar Ransom and Farrel Smith encouraged him to get into chariot racing with a team of his own, which introduced him to the world of horse racing. From the mid-70’s through today, Karl has been involved with every aspect of racing horses. He especially liked fast horses and the people who trained and raced them. He willingly spent time sharing his knowledge of horsemanship with anyone who wanted to learn more as well as sharing his passion with his children, brothers, cousins and nephew. Karl absolutely loved any time he got to spend with his horses. The barn and his horses were his “happy place” and he always had a “project” going on at the barn after he retired.
Karl continued to race horses through the remainder of his life. At age 86, in 2020, he thought he would give one more colt that he raised, named KP Dillon, a try at the track. This final colt proved to be “a dream come true” as KP Dillon was the most successful racehorse he ever campaigned winning 5 of 6 races, 2 futurities and a close 2nd in a third futurity and was named the 2020 champion racehorse in the State of Utah. Both family, friends and strangers alike were all cheering him on and there wasn’t a dry eye in the grandstand after each of KP Dillon’s victories. Everyone knew how much it meant to Karl and that it was his last racehorse to run. What a blessing it was!!! A special thanks to the Moosman family and Jesus Valenzuela for the hard work and dedication that contributed to KP Dillon’s success on the racetrack and their love and support of Karl throughout the years.
Karl lived a life of service and held many positions in the LDS church throughout his life and delighted in his opportunity to work as a volunteer in the Logan Temple after retirement. It brought him so much joy and he made many dear friends while serving in the temple. His family, especially Jean, were the ultimate center of his deepest feelings. Karl had a strong testimony of the Gospel and an abiding love for his Savior. He lived those principles to the fullest throughout his life. They don’t make many like him anymore, an equal amount of Grit and Grace. Karl was a shining example to all those that knew him.
We are grateful that Karl was able to take his “final ride” and be reunited with loved ones that have preceded him in death; his wife and eternal companion, Jean; daughter, Debra Peck; grandchildren, Matthew Peck, Easton Error and Celeste Nielsen; parents, Raymond and Zora; and two siblings, Donna Lee Nickolaisen and Max Poulsen Peterson. Survivors include his children, Kirk, Linda, Eric (Angie), Blake, Ted Peck ( Kaeyln) and Chad. He is also survived by three brothers: Ross (Mary Kay), Reed (Ralonna), Brent (Noralyn), and sister-in-law, Karen W. Peterson as well as many beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren and a multitude of nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family appreciates and is thankful to all of the sweet CNA’s and staff at Cache Valley Assisted living who cared for and loved Karl and are especially grateful for the Symbii Hospice Team including Dr. Barnes, Lindsey, Hannah, Dal, Becky and Leslie who were an incredible support system and blessing to Karl and his family during the last months of his life. They brilliantly taught our family the process of our dad’s final mortal journey and they will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Services will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, November 6 at the Allen Mortuary Chapel at 34 East Center, Logan. There will be a viewing on Friday, November 5 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. at the mortuary and from 10:30 to 11:30 on Saturday prior to services. Interment and a dedication of the grave will be at the Logan City Cemetery following the services.
Services will be livestreamed and may be viewed via the following link: