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Emery August Petersen completed his journey through life on February 11, 2023 in Twin Falls, Idaho. Emery was born November 10, 1932 in Twin Falls to Christina and Julius Petersen. He attended the Twin Falls public schools, graduating from high school in 1950. He attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington where he competed on the tennis team and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity before entering the Army in 1953. After having served in the Army, he continued his education at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Emery began working in Oakland, California for the American Can Company as a management trainee in the Manufacturing Department. In December 1959, he married Ruby Mae Neiwert in Twin Falls. In 1963, they were transferred to New Orleans, Louisiana where Emery worked in the Claims Department of the Finance Division as the Eastern Regional Claims Manager. He continued to work in this role in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois until he resigned from the company in 1972.
He then moved with Ruby and their three children to London, England where he was employed with International Mineral and Chemical Co. Remarkably, during an extended trip during the summer of 1973, he and the family traveled in their motorhome from London, throughout Western and Eastern Europe, and on to Athens, Greece. After having spent some time in Greece, they continued their overland trip across the sub-continent of Asia to Calcutta, India. Emery wrote several articles for “Motor Home Life” magazine during the trip, and in 1977, wrote a book titled “Seeing the World by Motor Home”.
In 1973, he and the family returned to Twin Falls and he bought the Petersen’s Western Wear store from his mother, operating it until 1998. During his business career in Twin Falls, Emery actively participated in a wide variety of community affairs. He served on the Board of Directors of many organizations including the Sawtooth Red Cross, Downtown Business Improvement District, Chamber of Commerce, Western Days Committee, Twin Falls Tennis Association, and the Twin Falls County Republican Central Committee. He also served as an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church.
In Twin Falls City government, Emery served on the Parks and Recreation Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission, Urban Renewal Agency, and the Industrial Development Corporation. In 1981, Emery was appointed to fill a vacancy on the City Council, and in 1982, was elected to serve a four-year term. He served as Mayor of Twin Falls in 1984 and 1985. He donated generously to many community and charitable causes and established a scholarship fund at his church.
Emery was a lifelong tennis enthusiast and a member of the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) during most of his adult life. In the early 1980’s, he played an instrumental role in both the establishment of the tennis team program at Twin Falls High School and in the construction of the adjacent tennis courts. Later in life, he played in numerous USTA senior tournaments and leagues. He was nationally ranked over many years, and in 2012, he achieved the rank of 5th in the nation in men’s doubles in the 80-to-85 year-old classification.
He was preceded in death by his older brothers, Max and Blaine Petersen, and his eldest son, David Brian Petersen. He is survived by his wife, Ruby, his sister Phyllis Gerber, his daughter Michelle Summers and husband Steve, his son Douglas and wife Valerija, and five grandchildren: Matthew, Lauren, and Michael Summers and Grace and Arthur Petersen. Cremation took place on February 13th.
A Memorial Service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Twin Falls on Monday, February 20th at 2:00 pm.
Monday, February 20, 2023
2:00 - 3:00pm (Mountain time)
First Presbyterian Church
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