Lt. Col. David Peterson, US Army (Ret.)
Lt. Col. David Peterson, US Army (Ret.)

Obituary of Lt. Col. David Roland Peterson, US Army (Ret.)

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Dave was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, on October 21, 1946, to the late Roland and Viola Peterson. Dave experienced Michigan’s brutal winters of the Upper Peninsula (UP) during his adolescence where he fell in love with the sport of skiing. Dave competed in downhill racing and ski jumping for several years after leaving the UP.

Dave graduated from Iron Mountain High School (1964) then went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree from Cameron University and a Master of Science in Business from Boston University. However, his love for those Michigan Wolverines far surpassed either alma mater.Dave was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army in 1968 and served 23 years before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in October, 1991. Dave served as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his heroism while participating in aerial flights during combat. During his time serving, Dave was stationed in several countries in Europe where he met his lifelong friend, Charles “Charlie” Vaughan. Charlie remained in Dave’s life for the next 45 years while the two soldiers experienced marriage, fatherhood, and becoming grandfathers.

Dave began a fulfilling career with the Federal Aviation Administration after retiring from the United States Army. It was here where Dave was instrumental in the creation of the grid reference system that generated Global Positioning System (GPS). Dave spent 17 years traveling the world becoming one of the top five leading experts on satellite navigation. Dave was such a well-liked FAA program manager, he was personally requested for consultation by several countries' highest dignitaries including the Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien. These satellite navigation systems led him to every continent earning enough frequent flier miles to circumnavigate the earth twice.

Coinciding with his military and federal careers, Dave remained physically fit through skiing, golfing, and running nearly every day. He once made a hole in one at Maryborough Golf Course in England, scarcely surviving the British celebrations in the pub afterwards. He also began collecting and building enormous train sets, while enjoying cruising in his boat up and down the scenic Potomac River. Two notable hobbies in Dave’s life were singing off-key, improvised songs to his children/grandchildren, and secondly, enjoying a variety of beers from around the world.

After retiring from the FAA, Dave slowed down by moving from the Washington DC area to Lake Anna, VA, where his interest in landscape and design took root. His boat saw more waves and his golf clubs were used on a regular basis as he encompassed the laid-back lake life. Dave relocated to Aiken, SC, six years ago after marrying Janet Hawkins on March 20, 2017. Since then he has enjoyed biweekly rounds of golf at the Woodside Country Club and giving everyone a hard time afterwards.

Dave Peterson is survived by his wife, Janet Hawkins of Aiken; a daughter, Mindy (Gene) Enley of Littleton, CO; two grandchildren, Lawson and KyraAnn Enley; a sister, Dr. Patricia “Patti” Peterson; and dearest friends, Charlie and Lyndsey Vaughan. Dave was preceded in death by his daughter, Kyra Peterson.

There will be time to honor Dave Peterson’s life at the Historic George Funeral Home & Cremation CEnter, 211 Park Avenue, SW Aiken, South Carolina, 29801 (803) 649-6234.  A formal burial service will occur at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington VA, on a later date.


****** Update- Friday, September 22, 2023. Due to unforseen circumstances, the Celebration of Life orginally scheduled for Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 6:00pm will have to be rescheduled and will be announced as soon as feasible. 



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Lt. Col. David Peterson, US Army (Ret.)

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Lt. Col. David Peterson, US Army (Ret.)

1946 - 2023

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