Fred Peterson

Fred Louis Peterson, 76, of Chicago and Oak Park, died on Dec. 22, 2020 at Rush Oak Park Hospital, following a valiant battle with COVID-19. The family wishes to express their profound gratitude for the physicians, nurses, chaplains and entire team at Rush Oak Park Hospital for their dedicated and compassionate care. 

Born Aug. 11, 1944 to Freddie and Callie Peterson, he graduated from Farragut High School and attended City Colleges of Chicago, then served in the U.S. Army as a military journalist during the Vietnam War. After the war, he attended Syracuse University through scholarships and the G.I. Bill, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In four decades, he worked at International Harvester, Bethany Hospital and the American Dental Association, until retiring in 2011. 

A boxing aficionado and avid Chicago and Syracuse sports fan, he enjoyed photography, reading, crossword puzzles, cooking, tennis and traveling. He also was a longtime supporter and volunteer for Housing Forward. 

Fred is survived by Carol O’Brien, his partner of 18 years; his former wife, Cynthia Peterson; his son, Patric; his daughter, Vical Peterson Brunious (Courtney); his extended Oak Park family, Katherine O’Brien Cancila (Nathan Semler) and grandchildren Charlie, Eleanor and Johanna; Megan O’Brien Cancila (Colin R. Stroud) and grandchildren Eve and Soren; his brothers, Wendell (Judy), Gerald (Willa), Lafell, Stanley, Dwayne, and McArthur (deceased), and a host of family and friends.

Charitable donations may be made online at Fred L. Peterson Scholarship, or by check to Syracuse University, indicating “Fred L. Peterson Scholarship” in the memo line. Address to: Syracuse University, Advancement Services, Jodie Ralston, 640 Skytop Road, Room 240, Syracuse, NY 13244-5160. 

A memorial service will be held at a future date.

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