Ronald's Story

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Ronald Eugene Petersen, 77, of 11374 Saybrooke Road, Meadville, PA, died Friday, June 30, 2017, after a courageous battle with both congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Born in Underwood, IA, on November 30, 1939, Ron was the youngest of four children of the late Herman Petersen and Margaret V. Wissimek Petersen. When he was in elementary school, he and his family moved to Medford, OR, but eventually returned to Iowa. In 1957, he graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, in Council Bluffs, IA. After high school, Ron served for three years in the United States Navy. After his time in the service, he attended Omaha University, in Omaha, NE. Later he attended and graduated from McConnell Airline School in Minneapolis, MN, after which he went to work for BOAC, which was later known as British Airways.
In early 1961, while working at BOAC in Chicago, IL, Ron met an American Airlines Reservation Agent named Leonora (Lee) Hargenrater. After a whirlwind romance, the two married on December 9, 1961, at St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church in Oak Park, IL. In December of 1962, their daughter Jennifer was born in Oak Park, IL; in September of 1964, their son David was born in Oak Park, IL; and in June of 1967 their daughter Elizabeth was born in Garfield Heights, OH.
Ron continued working at BOAC/British Airways in numerous capacities, including Reservation Agent in Chicago, IL; Sales Representative in Cleveland, OH; Resident Sales Representative in Cincinnati, OH; Manager Ticket Offices in New York City, NY; Assistant District Sales Manager in Boston, MA; and Area Sales Manager Southwest in Houston, TX. He, Lee, and the kids had a chance to enjoy living, working, and going to school in various parts of the county. After retiring from British Airways, Ron worked for UTA French Airlines and the Air France Groupe in Chicago, IL, in sales and management positions. He concluded his airline career as Manager Central USA with US Africa Airways and was also employed by Auto Europe. He was a member of the Airline Managers' Association, SKAL, Interline Club, American Society of Travel Agents, and the Association of Professional Traffic Managers.
Upon retiring to Lee's hometown of Meadville in 2001, Ron became an active member of St. Agatha's Roman Catholic Church and was involved in different ministries. He belonged to the Meadville Roundtable and Crawford County Historical Society. He also was the co-founder of a local organization, MPAC (Meadville Patriotic Action Committee). Throughout his life, Ron loved to travel with his wife and children around the country and around the world. He literally and figuratively gave them wings to fly! Some of Ron's favorite trips included his honeymoon in Greece; a safari in South Africa with the entire family; a Viking River Cruise from Amsterdam to Germany to Austria; a visit to the Middle East and the Holy Lands; trips to Tahiti; a European cruise that had ports of call in France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia; and a cruise to Alaska on the Golden Princess with his wife, children, their spouses, and his six grandchildren to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with Lee. Ron was also especially pleased to have had the opportunity to fly to London two different times at twice the speed of sound on the Concorde, a British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner. More recently, family cruises, winter stays down South in Florida and Alabama, and frequent drives back to New England to visit children, grandchildren, and friends along the way filled a busy retirement calendar.
Survivors include his wife, Leonora (Lee) Hargenrater, of Meadville, PA; daughter Jennifer Petersen, son-in-law Karl Suchecki, and grandchildren Michael Suchecki, Matthew Suchecki, Katherine Suchecki, and Jillian Suchecki, of Groton, MA; son David Petersen, daughter-in-law Eva (Karchut) Petersen, and grandchildren Samuel Petersen and Abigail Petersen of Manchester, NH; brother Herman Petersen, Jr., and sister-in-law Phyllis Petersen, of Titusville, FL; sister-in-law Jeanette Franz of Meadville, PA; sister-in-law Mary Ann Lynch and husband Michael (Mike) Lynch of Meadville, PA; sister-in-law Margaret Winters of Meadville, PA; and many nieces and nephews.
Ron was preceded in death by his beloved daughter Elizabeth Petersen in August, 1998; father Herman Petersen in February, 1955; mother Margaret Wissimek Petersen in March, 1971; brother Charles Petersen in May, 2005, and sister-in-law Esther Petersen in 2013; sister Betty Ann (Petersen) Rodenburg in February, 2009, and brother-in-law Wayne Rodenburg in May, 2017; brother-in-law Theodore (Jack) Winters in February, 2007; brother-in-law Stanley Hargenrater, Jr., in October, 2009; and brother-in-law Robert (Bob) Franz in June, 2014.
Calling hours will be on Sunday, July 2, 2017, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Ryan M. Warren Funeral Home, 544 Chestnut Street, Meadville, concluding with a scripture service. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, July 3, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Agatha's Roman Catholic Church with Father Tom Trocchio as celebrant. Burial will be at St. Agatha's Cemetery, Meadville, and a luncheon will be held at the church center following the service at the cemetery. The family suggests any memorials be made to Rolling Fields Elder Care Community in Conneautville, PA, (www.rollingfields.com) where Ron previously received rehabilitative care from the skilled and caring staff there, and where he recently chose to return and spend the last few days of his life in hospice care. The family especially welcomes everyone to visit www.warrenfh.com to share their favorite memories of Ron.
Published on July 1, 2017
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