Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 1, 2014

Benjamin R. Peterson Died Jan. 29, 2014

TRAVERSE CITY — Benjamin R. Peterson, 100, passed away on Jan. 29, 2014, surrounded by his loving family. Ben was born in Chicago on Sept. 2, 1913, to the late Benjamin and Marie (Sauer) Peterson.

His lifelong work in the ice cream business began in high school with his first job as a “soda jerk” in a drug store. In his teens Ben worked for the family dairy, first in Chicago, then Detroit. He drove a horse-drawn milk delivery cart. In the 1950s Ben began a very successful ice cream flavoring business. From a small lab in the basement, he grew his business to one of the largest ice cream flavor distributors in the U.S.A.

Our “grampa,” father and husband was a brilliant business man, a spiritual guide and an anchor to his family. He was a gentleman to the end.

Ben was involved in many Christian charities and frequently volunteered in Chicago missions. In Traverse City he was particularly interested in the work of the local Salvation Army. In the midst of his blessings he never forgot those in need.

Ben is survived by his wife, Betty (Thompson) Peterson, and in March they would have celebrated 78 years of marriage. Daughter, Charlotte, preceded him in death within the last month. He is survived by a sister, Caroline Thompson; daughter, Nancy Peterson; son-in-law, Dan Bohlmeyer; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Dave) Jordan, Benjamin, (Shelley) Peterson, Stefen (Grace) Peterson, Anders (Korrie) Peterson, Rebecca Charlotte (Tom) Peterson-Frediani and Charles (Elizavetta) Peterson; great-grandchildren, Taylor, Lizzy, Jasmin, Hannah, Dylan, Jake, Haley, Mason and Rachel; and son-in-law, Gary Peterson.

A private funeral service for the family will be held today, Feb. 1, 2014, at 3 p.m,. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Burial will take place in the spring at the Amble Cemetery.

Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy may wish to consider donations to the Salvation Army of Traverse City Homeless Charity Fund.

Please share your thoughts and memories with Ben’s family by visiting

Arrangements for the family have been entrusted to Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

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