Remembering Chase Peterson


(Photo Courtesy of Kent Miles)

(Photo Courtesy of Kent Miles)
(Photo Courtesy of Kent Miles)

Chase Peterson, a former U president, died on Sept. 14. His loved ones remembered his life on Saturday with a funeral.
Peterson was the U’s 14th president, championing the Honors College, open office hours and free speech. Peterson graduated from Harvard with a degree in medicine as an endocrinologist. He died at the age of 84 from complications of pneumonia.
The memorial service for Peterson was held at a ward building for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every seat was filled with people, each holding a special memory of the late physician and educator.
The “Utah Man” fight song was played at Peterson’s memorial to honor his commitment to the U. His family filed into the first few rows, his wife and three children accompanied by fourteen grandchildren.
His grandson, Chase Nebeker Munson, told stories of his grandfather and explained his endearing qualities.
“One of his great gifts was taking big ideas like love, integrity, respect and making them real through the little things he would do,” he said. “As we grew up his love for us grew too.”
In his later years Peterson began to volunteer at the Fourth Street Clinic, a clinic for the homeless in Salt Lake City. His son, Stuart Peterson, spoke of this passion.
“He was so proud of our city,” he said. “He truly loved Salt Lake City.”
His son, Edward Peterson, said Peterson also loved people.
“My dad always put people first, no matter what,” he said. “He looked and listened and always made people feel special. He taught me how to live.”
Each speaker said Peterson was a man of love and dignity. Chris Hill, the athletics director for the U, said Peterson was there for him when he needed help.
“Chase was a combination of father, older uncle, friend and a personal philosopher,” Hill said. “He could be whatever I needed him to be when I needed it.”
Peterson’s daughter, Erika Munson, said Peterson was a man of love, but not a man to be pushed over. She laughed at his love for confrontation.
“He taught us all that confrontations were nothing to be scared of; it was part of his natural optimism,” she said.
Peterson loved learning, but most speakers say they learned more from him than elsewhere, including Hill.
“I learned from him everyday he was here, and I’m still learning from Chase,” Hill said. “Very few people could change your life that dramatically, and Chase could. He did that in my life.”
At the Homecoming game against Washington State University on Saturday, the U’s marching band honored Chase Peterson by spelling out his name on the field.
“He’d be so proud and so happy to have that honor on that field,” Hill said.
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