Colonel Donald H. Peterson (AF Ret.) died Sunday, May 27, 2018, at his home in El Lago, Texas.
Born in Winona, Mississippi to Henry W. and Mabel Strickland Peterson, Don graduated from Winona and excelled in math and science. His hard work paid off and after high school graduation he received an appointment to West Point.
At the age of 17, Don boarded a train and headed out of his small Mississippi community to attend The Military Academy at West Point in New York. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1955 receiving his diploma from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and began his Air Force career. He would later earn his Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1962.
While serving in the Air Force and stationed in Greenville, Don met Bonnie Love. They married in 1957, and were together nearly 60 years.
Don's Air Force career would last 24 years until he retired with the rank of Colonel. During this journey, Don would achieve many accomplishments. He went to test pilot school at Edwards AF Base and in 1967 was one of the third group of astronauts selected for the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program.(MOL). When this program was canceled, Don became a NASA astronaut in 1969.
Don moved his family to El Lago, Texas, to begin his NASA training. He would remain here until the day he died. While with NASA he served on the Apollo 16 Support Crew, and in 1983 flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS 6) with crew members Commander Paul Weitz, Pilot Col. Karol Bobko, and Dr. Story Musgrave. As a mission specialist, Don performed the first EVA, (spacewalk) along with Story Musgrave. He resigned from NASA in 1984 and began his own consulting firm for work involving manned aerospace operations.
Don is preceded in death by his parents; Henry W. and Mabel Peterson and his loving wife Bonnie Love Peterson.
He is survived by brother; Gil Peterson; children Don Jr. (JoAnn) Peterson, Jean (Bob) Stone, and Shari Peterson; grandchildren; Shannon (Joe) Hathaway, Katie (Jordan) Senor, Max Stone and Jeff Stone; great-grandchildren; Molly Kate and Macy Senor, and Laney and Ella Hathaway; brother-in-law; Bill Jung; nephews; Butch, Mike, and Sam Jung, and many other nieces, nephews and family members whom he loved dearly.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to his team of caregivers that enabled him to live out his life at home. Special thanks to Wanda, Brittney, and Candice and the Heart to Heart Hospice Care.
A Memorial Service was held at Crowder Funeral Home, located at 111 E. Medical Center Blvd. Webster, TX. 77598 on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 11 a.m. with a reception immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, Don's requests you make a donation in his name to the charity of your choice. Don always believed "the more you gave, the more you had."