American Veteran 04

Walter H. Petersen

August 23, 1934 ~ October 7, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Walter Petersen Obituary

The celebration of life service for Walt will be livestreamed, and the link will be available five minutes before the service starts (12:55 pm, Saturday, November 4, 2023) at:

Walter H. Petersen, 89, of Gurnee, Illinois, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on October 7, 2023. Walt was born on August 23, 1934, in Davenport, Iowa to the late Walter and Helen (Helkenn) Petersen. Walt grew up on small farms in Plainview, Iowa and Mexico, Missouri. He attended high School in Mexico, Missouri and college at the University of Missouri - Columbia.  He went on to graduate with a Masters in Psychology, a PhD in Counseling Psychology, and ultimately secured a license to practice Clinical Psychology from the State of Illinois . Walter met his future wife, Elizabeth (Lacey), during his college years. She was a "Stephen's girl" and though their courtship started a bit awkwardly, as many do, he eventually convinced her to marry him. Liz was immediately introduced to life as an army wife. Between Walt's time in the army and the start of his career, Walt and Liz had 4 children together, born in 4 different states. Finally, in 1969, they decided to settle down in Gurnee, IL.

Walt's career was split between college counseling and the U.S Army Reserves. He worked at several colleges and held a long term position as a counselor at the College of Lake County (CLC). While there, he was tasked with starting the counseling program and later served as its director. Those who worked with Walt described him as an excellent boss. He and Liz would often host parties for his co-workers at their house in Wildwood, Illinois. Walt loved working with the CLC students. Through his experience with the military he was able to mentor many of the Vietnam veterans in attendance. Though he sustained a fulfilling career, Walt's two passions in life were his relationships and traveling. Walter often traveled to various family events in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, California, Texas and New York. He made a point of keeping in close contact with cousins, grandchildren, and friends across the globe. He also made trips to Argentina, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Uruguay, and many of the National Parks across the United States. Walt loved to tell us stories of his life on the farm and of his travels. Both the stories and counsel he shared will be sorely missed.

Walter is survived by his sons, Matt (Amy) Petersen, Michael (Jaime Castillo) Petersen, and Chris Petersen; son-in-law, Tomas Adepoju; grandchildren, Emma Petersen, Sean Fitzgerald, Connor (fiancé May Valenzuela) Fitzgerald, and Henry Petersen; sister, Marianne Hubert; brothers, Harvey (Mary) Petersen and Warren (Elke) Petersen; nieces and nephews, Tim Petersen, Lynn (Mark) Hults, Marvin Petersen, and Aline Petersen; and niece-in-law, Tina Hubert.

In addition to his parents, Walter was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth Jane Petersen; daughter, Elizabeth “Lisa” Adepoju; brother-in-law, Robert Hubert; and nephews, Dwight, Gene, and Hoyt Hubert.

Walter contributed to a number of environment focused organizations over the years. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the Chicago Botanic Garden at

A memorial gathering will take place Saturday, November 4, 2023, from 12:30 pm until 1:00 pm, at Gurnee Community Church, 4555 Old Grand Avenue, Gurnee. A celebration of life will follow the visitation at church at 1:00 pm, with Rev. Brian K. Walter officiating, and Army Military Funeral Honors to follow. Interment will take place privately at Millburn Cemetery.

Arrangements are entrusted to Sambrano Funeral & Cremation, Gurnee. Please sign the virtual guestbook at; 847-571-7719.


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Memorial Gathering
November 4, 2023

12:30 PM to 1:00 PM
Gurnee Community Church
4555 Old Grand Avenue
Gurnee, IL 60031

Celebration of Life Memorial Service
November 4, 2023

1:00 PM
Gurnee Community Church
4555 Old Grand Avenue
Gurnee, IL 60031

Private Interment

Millburn Cemetery
18577 W. Millburn Road
Old Mill Creek, IL 60083


Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe IL 60022
Tel: 1-847-835-6801


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