John was born in Washington, Iowa, to Elma Dale (Ebner) Peters and Dale Henry Peters on October 23, 1937. He spent many hours at his parent’s rural phone company, working on farms, and riding his horse across the countryside at all hours of the day and night. Upon graduating from Lewis High School he entered the Navy in the summer of 1955 at the age of 17 where he had the opportunity to “see the world”. When talk turned to the military he would often grin and remind us that his service lasted for 3 years, 4 months, and 8 days. John served on the USS Tarawa carrier after boot camp at the Great Lakes and San Diego where he trained as an electrician/communications and movie film operator.
After his Navy service, John was proud to have worked at the University of Iowa for Professor Van Allen of radiation belt fame in the physics department and with machines that were precursors to our modern computers at the Measurement Research Center where the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for public schools was developed. John also found his sweetheart of nearly 53 years on the University of Iowa campus in the northern entrance of Schaeffer Hall in the Autumn of 1963. They married at the Nevada Methodist Church on August 14, 1966.
John believed in the importance of education which was reflected in his decision to earn a masters degree in education, also at The University of Iowa. He taught in Iowa and Texas public schools for over 20 years, often as a math instructor with junior high school students. John provided a stable environment where his students could thrive and his gruff disciplinarian exterior was balanced with a center of genuine kindness.
Pool shark was an appropriate description for John throughout most of his life. From his pre-teen years to his first year at the Iowa Veterans home he was winning games with a muscle memory that didn’t seem like it would ever quit. At various times he supplemented the family income and generously taught others who went on to win professional championships. John was an expert shooter in trap and skeet, enjoyed playing chess, card games with friends, woodworking, and the hands-on creation of his own mansion on a hill in the huge, old long-distance phone line repeater station that he lived in with Suzanne both part-time and then full-time until the challenges of Parkinsons made it necessary to be closer to required medical care. Membership in the Masons and Shriners was an important way for John to connect with the memory of his father. The possibility of zooming around on a cart in parades didn’t hurt either!
Maintaining relationships with people was extremely important to John. He regularly contacted and/or visited friends and relatives with his wife Suzanne, especially his mother and Suzanne’s parents on their family farm. John and Suzanne also enjoyed traveling around our beautiful country both before and after the birth of their only child, Sabina. He was very motivated to take Sabina to every state in the nation and all of the great lakes.
John is survived by his wife Suzanne; his daughter, Sabina Peters-Daywater; his son-in-law, Brandon Rutter-Daywater; many nieces and nephews, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, cousins, and many dear friends. He is preceded in death by his brothers, George and Guy.
Visitation with an open casket viewing will be held at Hockenberry Funeral Home in Atlantic, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. followed by a Masonic ceremony at 7:00 p.m. The funeral and viewing will be held at the United Congregational Methodist Church in Lewis, Iowa, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, beginning at 10:30 a.m. followed by a time for lunch and memories in the church fellowship hall.
Memorials may be made to the Lewis Library and the Congregational Methodist Church in Lewis, Iowa.
Hockenberry Family Care Funeral Home in Atlantic, Iowa, is in charge of the arrangements.