Obit: ‘He was 101 years…and it was his opinion that no one should live that long’

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101-year-old Verne Petersen, a veteran from Huron, passed away in July. His daughter decided to write an obituary her dad would have loved – one filled with humor. 

Check out the obituary:

Verne Petersen decided enough was enough on July 10, 2018 just 8 days before his wife’s birthday and 41 days before their 70th wedding anniversary. When you are reduced to drinking tepid thickened coffee and chocolate no longer tastes good, it is time to go. Plus it gave him the best excuse for not acknowledging his wife’s birthday or their anniversary. (She was the proud recipient of a new dust pan one year.) He was 101 years and four months and it was his opinion that no one should live that long.

Verne was born in Huron South Dakota February 25, 1917 to a Danish father and a Norwegian mother. He never understood why they gave him a name neither could pronounce and most people misspelled. In later life he grew to appreciate using this to screen out unwanted solicitations. 

Verne took a job with the Chicago & Northwestern Railway in September 1938. He was transferred to Norfolk Nebraska in July of 1940 and drafted and inducted into the Army (August 1941) where he served until October 23, 1945. When offered the opportunity to make the Army his career he emphatically declined and returned to his job with the railroad. He continued to work for the railroad until his retirement in July 1977.

Verne married Anna Lorenzen on August 22, 1948. He was amazed and thankful until the day he died that she said yes. (His Army buddies were also shocked.) Some of his final words were his vow to love her “forever and always.” They raised five children together. He made countless trips to Lincoln helping children move into and out of dorm rooms and apartments with a minimum of complaints.

Verne enjoyed making himself laugh and it didn’t matter if anyone else got the joke. Laurel and Hardy, W.C. Fields, Fred Allen, Rube Goldberg, and James Thurber were some of his favorite humorists. He liked playing with words and could turn anything into a curse. He would talk in song lyrics just to amuse himself and then quiz people on the rest of the lyrics to the songs.

Verne was a collector of stamps (before the infamous chicken stamp honoring the poultry association), arrowheads, coins, fossils, guns, interesting rocks, bits of metal, gears, doorknobs, etc. He liked to share his collections and if visitors were not careful they would often find their vehicles a little heavier when they left.

Survivors include his patient, long suffering spouse Anna Petersen of Norfolk; a daughter Karen (James) Imler of St. Louis, MO; a daughter Helen Petersen of Portland, OR; a son Alan (Melinda) Petersen of Overland Park, KS; grandchildren: Fred (Nichole) Petersen; David (Rhiannon Kaye) Imler; Sandy (Trish) Petersen; Douglas Imler; Sarah (Karlene Carron) Petersen; great-grandchildren: Hannah, Olive, Owen, Ellie, Albert, Marah, Toby, and Carter; and sisters-in-law Catherine Hansen, Alice Bradley, Betty Lorenzen.

Verne was preceded in death by his parents; his mother-in-law Catherine (Hoos) Lorenzen; his dog Sport; his sister Bernice Petersen; his cat Cat Ballou; his replacement cat Stupid Cat; his sons Loren and Steven Petersen; his daughter-in-law Edith Petersen; most of his classmates; his army buddies; his eye sight, hearing, and most of his teeth; 6 brothers-in-law John Lorenzen, Chris Roth, Brad Bradley, Elmer Hansen, Herman Hansen, and Carsten Lorenzen; his filter; most of his coworkers on the Cheap and Nothing Wasted Railway; his sisters-in law Ruth Hansen and Mildred Lorenzen; all his cars; and most of his cousins. When you live to be over 101, the list gets pretty long.

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