Michael Fred Peterson, an 82-year resident of California and a 40-year resident of Twentynine, died at his home surrounded by family on March 29, 2020. The cause of his death was stage four lung cancer. He was 82 years old.
The son of Oliver Earle Peterson Jr. and Louise Marie Adalian Peterson Holmes, he was born May 8, 1937.
Michael was born in Los Angeles, but raised in Anaheim and attended Anaheim High School.
He joined the Navy and after a few different jobs landed a position in the kitchen where he was soon promoted to cook and served aboard many ships. He completed his military service after 10 years as a chief. While in the Navy, Mike fell in love and married Lois Arnette Ozbun of San Diego. They raised three children, Julie, Michelle and Mike Jr.
Upon leaving the Navy, Mike owned Peterson’s Pool Maintenance and Repair. After he sold his pool business, Mike and his family moved to Twentynine Palms in the early 1980s. They purchased a cabin on 5 acres and rebuilt it into a home which remains in the family. The Petersons quickly became a part of this desert community.
After a few months of boredom he got a job as a welder at Parker Welding. In 1988 he was hired on as a maintenance worker in the new City of Twentynine Palms along with Frenchie Pomainville. Mike received many promotions and retired as the superintendent of Public Works in early 1999.
He was an active member of the local Eagles Aerie No. 4092.
Mike has always loved the water and nice cars. He grew up going to the beaches in Orange County and had fond memories of the early days of hot-rodding.
He was known as a devoted father and business owner and for sharing his passions in life by introducing many family and friends to the river and Lake Havasu. He competed in the famous Catalina Ski Race, a long-distance water ski race between Newport Beach and Catalina and back. He also was known for his love of fishing and always knew the best spots. This love was instilled into many of his decedents.
He was also into cars and dune buggies and built several. He loved tinkering or rebuilding vehicles of all makes and models for himself or to help others. He was a Jack of all trades and master of many. He was always there to lend a helping hand.
Mike’s hobbies and interests were fishing, both fresh and salt water, traveling around our glorious country, cruising the many oceans and enjoying all of these with his family, and tinkering with anything that needed fixing.
Mike and Marli Renfro met in the fall of 1992 and soon married. Upon their retirement they enjoyed their time traveling in their RV. They traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada and took many cruises.
Mike was the best friend you could have. He loved telling stories and jokes and making people laugh and feel good about themselves. He will be missed by many.
He was preceded in death by his father, Oliver Earle Peterson Jr, his stepfather, Everett Alonso Holmes, his mother, Louise Marie Adalian Peterson Holmes, his wife Lois Arnette Ozbun Peterson and his brother Oliver Earle Peterson III.
He is survived by his wife Marli Renfro Peterson; his children, Julie Peterson McClay, Michael Fred Peterson Jr and Erin Patricia Hilliard, all of Twentynine Palms, Michelle Peterson Carroll, of Orange, and Edward John Hilliard, of Santa Fe, New Mexico; his sister-in-law, Gwenne Park Peterson, of Sparks, Nevada; and his brothers Matt Holmes, of Rancho Santa Fe, and Gregg Holmes, of Arlington Texas.
He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jacklyn McClay Cunningham, Jessica Peterson Guzzie, Colin McClay, Austin Caroll, Ryan Carroll, Kaila Peterson, Cierra Peterson Anderson and Camerin Rimmington, his great-grandchildren, Wyatt Guzzie, Austin Guzzie, Kaelyn Cunningham, Ian McClay, Ellie Guzzie, Kelby Cunningham, Bailee Meyers, Hayden McClay, Asher Carroll and Beau Carroll, and Lily, his beloved boxer companion and fellow window watcher.
Mike’s celebration of life will be held in the near future. The information will be posted.
In lieu of flowers we ask that you donate in his name to the Twentynine Palms High School Scholarship Fund.
Mike wrote the following shortly before his passing … “To all my friends, I am sad to report that I was diagnosed recently with stage four lung cancer and I have enrolled myself in hospice. I have enjoyed your friendship through the years. We shared a lot of laughs. Good bye and see you up there. With love,” Mike Peterson.”