Harry M. “Top” Peterson, 91, of River Forest, died of natural causes on July 23, 2014 at Rush Oak Park Hospital. Born in 1922 in Oak Park, he graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 1940, attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota, then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in World War II. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was taken prisoner by the Germans. He wrote about his experiences as a POW and on their 30th wedding anniversary in 2006, his wife, Mary Jane, arranged to have his book, Our Days are a Shadow: A Diary of Escape, Capture, and Imprisonment in German Stalags, finally published.

After the war, he returned to St. Olaf and graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1946 then married his classmate, Mary Alice Thorstenson, in 1948. He worked for a year as a chemist for Kraft Foods, then started his own company, Food Foundation Inc., which was a pioneer in food processing. 

They raised three children in Oak Park, his wife died in 1975, he sold his business in 1986, and he and his second wife, Mary Jane, moved to River Forest in 1999. 

He was a member of Oak Park-River Forest Rotary and was active at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. He taught Sunday school and sang in the church choir in addition to serving as a church elder.

In addition to his second wife, he is survived by two sons, Scott and Grant; his daughter, Heidi; his sister, Mary Lou Moore; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren.

Services have been held.

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