Ronald (Ron) Ralph Petersdorf, 82, Farmington, died on Thursday, October 3, 2013 after courageously battling a long illness.
The ninth child of Herman and Ada (Thomas) Petersdorf, he was born April 18, 1931 in Stevens County, MN. His early years were spent on a farm in Chokio, until his family moved to Bemidji residing by a lake that would take their name.
Ron early on learned to fish and hunt. He attended school in Wilton, MN. In 1948 he enlisted in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1952. Ron became a journeyman mechanic and he and his brother Willy had a gas station and garage in Chokio during the 1950s.
On June 29, 1957 he married Theresa Kleindl at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Graceville, MN. They made their home in Chokio. In 1959 their daughter Kristi was born. Shortly thereafter Ron took a job with Ford at the St. Paul assembly plant and moved his family to Roseville, MN. He worked for Ford for 30 years, and even starred in one of their commercials. Ron was a member of the UAW. In 1968 he moved his family to Farmington, where he lived until the end of his life.
He retired in 1990 and devoted his time to his family and his passions. Ron loved to fish and garden. He always grew enough vegetables to share with family and friends. He was generous with his time and helped many of his neighbors. Ron loved to tinker and fix things. As he grew older he became interested in cooking and was famous in several communities for his cashew brittle, which he gave out at Christmas along with the recipe, which he kept handy in his wallet. He was very proud of both his daughter and grandson for completing doctorate degrees in psychology.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Theresa of Farmington; his daughter Kristi (Robert) Swenson of Cannon Falls; grandson Peter Swenson, St. Paul; and great-grandson Evan Swenson, also of St. Paul; brother Curtis Petersdorf, OR; sisters, Faye Burud, MT, Carol (Walt) Holm, WI, Elmeda (Bill)Neuman, MN; brothers and sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his unnamed infant son; his son-in-law Robert Swenson; brothers, Charlie, Hershel, and Willy; sisters Louise and Eunice; and several brother and sisters-in-law.
A mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, October 8, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Graceville, MN with Father Breu officiating. Burial was in Graceville.
Mundwiler and Larson Funeral Home of Graceville was in charge of arrangements.