American Veteran 04

Larry Claude Petersen

January 23, 1948 ~ May 27, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old


Larry Claude Petersen, 75, died Saturday, May 27, 2023 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King of natural causes. Larry and his twin brother Lawrence (Butch) were born on January 23, 1948 to Betty Jane (Pohl) and Theodore Petersen in Wisconsin. Larry, Butch, and their two sisters Jean and Pamella grew up in the family home in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Following high school, Larry joined the US Army where he proudly served in the Vietnam War.

Larry married his first wife, Susan and to this union, two daughters, Linda and Deborah, were born. Larry and Susan later divorced. It was while Larry was stationed in Germany with the US Army that he met the love of his life, Diane Freier, who was also serving in the Army. Larry and Diane married on May 9, 1975 in Havre, Montana at her mother’s residence. To this union, three children were born, Rhonda Lynn, Robert Larry, and Christina Louise.

Larry’s military career meant that the family frequently moved to wherever he was stationed. In fact, the family’s first move came only weeks after Rhonda was born in Germany when the family relocated to Fort Lee, Virginia where Robert was born. The family later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Christina was born. Larry, Diane, and the kids also spent time in Washington state where Larry was twice stationed at Fort Lewis military base. In addition to serving in Vietnam, Larry also served overseas twice more with a stint in Korea and two years stationed in the Netherlands. When Larry served overseas in Korea and the Netherlands, he was separated from his family who stayed home in Montana while he completed his overseas service.

In 1990, Larry retired as a E7 from the US Army after twenty years of dedicated service. Larry was proud of his years in the US Army. Following his retirement, Larry and Diane moved the family to Havre, Montana, Diane’s hometown. After retiring from the US Army, Larry worked a variety of jobs including at Pennington’s, Gary & Leo’s IGA, and Coca Cola. Larry was a hard worker who dedicated many long hours to his employers to support his family.

Larry was an outgoing person who never met a stranger. Larry’s sense of humor was legendary and he loved to tell jokes to friends and strangers alike. He could talk to anyone about virtually anything. Larry enjoyed meeting new people. Larry was compassionate and was always willing to help out a friend. For many years, Larry mowed the lawns and shoveled snow for elderly neighbors on his block. In his free time, Larry enjoyed fishing and gambling. Larry also enjoyed reading Western books.

Even though Larry and Diane separated and lived apart after their three children had grown, Larry still considered Diane the love of his life and continued to support Diane both emotionally and financially until her death in 2013. He was always willing to drive Diane to doctor appointments in Billings and continued to mow her lawn for her.

In 2016, Larry’s failing health forced the family to make the difficult decision to relocate Larry from the Eagles’ Manor in Havre to the Wisconsin Veterans Home so that he could receive the medical care that he needed. One blessing about Larry’s relocation to Wisconsin was that he lived close to his siblings for the first time in decades. Larry’s siblings were able to assist Larry when he required anything from birdseed to cookies. Larry spent seven years there. As Larry’s health worsened in the last six weeks, four of his five children were able to visit him and say their goodbyes.

Larry is survived by his five children: Linda (Brian Volkers) Kelly of Smithboro, Illinois, Deb (Joel) Bingham of Maryville, Illinois, Rhonda Petersen of Chester, Montana, Robert (Rebecca) Petersen of Billings, Montana, and Christina “Tina” (Wes Otto) Petersen of Great Falls, Montana. Larry is also survived by nine grandchildren: Justin Kelly, Kirsten Kelly, Kasandra (Ty) Terry, Amber (Hunter Shofler) Saeger, Bennett Petersen, Amelia Petersen, Jonah Petersen, Jessica (Cullen Hinkle) Otto, and Zoey Otto, two step-grandchildren: Brandon Bingham and Karlei (Seth Niepoetter) Bingham and one great grandson, Logan Terry, . Larry’s survivors also include two sisters, Jean (Bruce) Barlow of Waupaca, Wisconsin, and Pamella (John) Sannes of Amherst, Wisconsin and his twin brother, Lawrence “Butch” (Marlene) of Waupaca, Wisconsin. Larry was predeceased by his parents and his wife, Diane.

It was Larry’s wish to be buried next to his beloved wife, Diane, in Havre, Montana. A private family burial service will make that wish a reality. Larry’s family also plans to hold a celebration of his life sometime this summer. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or donor’s choice.

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