Wayne Henry Petersen, 87, of Fairbury died at 11:10 a.m. Sunday (Dec. 2, 2018) at Fairview Haven Retirement Community, Fairbury.
His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Colfax. Pastor Tom Krieger will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Petersen Chevrolet car dealership, Route 24, Fairbury, and one hour prior to the memorial service at the church. Burial of his ashes will be in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery. Duffy-Pils Memorial Home, Fairbury, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be made to Colfax Restoration Project for the Armed Forces memorial or the donor's choice.
Wayne was born Friday, Nov. 13, 1931, at home in rural Colfax, to Henry and Minnie Dringenberg Petersen. He attended the Maple Schoolhouse in Lawndale Township. He was a lifelong member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. He farmed in and near Lawndale Township for 50 years and served as a trustee of that township for eight years. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served from 1952-54. During that time he saw combat while a member of the 25th Infantry Division, 27th Wolfhound Pack Regiment in Korea where he quickly rose to the rank of staff sergeant. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and VFW. His final act as a member of the U.S. military was to offer a very proud first salute to his grandson, Luke Buchs, at Luke's officer commissioning ceremony in 2007.
Wayne married Wilma Cramer on Aug. 27, 1950. After 50 blessed years of marriage, she preceded him in death in 2000. He married Betty Peters in 2003. She survives him.
He was the father of three children, Marcia Buchs (Gary), Colfax; Marc (Kelli), Gibson City; and Mike (Kimberly), Cropsey. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Luke (Danielle) Buchs, Clare (Bill) Malott, Brett (Vanessa) Petersen, Sarah Petersen, Eli Petersen and Erin (Josh) Ifft. He has seven great-grandchildren, Anna, Henry Wayne and Mae Buchs; Emery, Peyton, and soon to join us, Ava Petersen; and Eva Ifft. He is also survived by stepson, Michael (Rita) Peters; stepgrandchildren, Melissa (Ryan) Rich and Darrin (Lindsey) Peters; and stepgreat-grandchildren, Morgan and Adam Baillie, and Tinley and Trey Peters.
He was preceded in death by three younger brothers, Loren Dean in 1973, Gene Allen in 2005, Larry Eugene in infancy, and a sister, Darlene Bruley in 2014. His sister, Viola (Frank) Paulus of Chicago survives him.
He was the owner of Petersen Motors in Fairbury. He started his career as a Chrysler-Plymouth car dealer in Anchor in 1954, in partnership with his father and brother, Dean. He and his brother purchased the former Claudon Motors in Fairbury in 1969. In 1975 he purchased Fairbury Auto and added Chevrolet-Buick brands to the dealership. Both dealerships were moved from Main Street Fairbury out to a new building on Route 24 in 1978. In 1987 he purchased Jones Motors in Gibson City with his two sons and opened a Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership in that town. He retired from the dealerships in 1995. He weathered many ups and downs in the car business during his 50 years, but never lost his enthusiasm or appreciation for a fine ride. Throughout his lifetime he was avid traveler starting with a road trip to California at age 16 with his 18-year-old cousin in 1947. In 1995 he started wintering in Arizona and enjoyed many winters there with his snowbird friends.
He was a board member of and served as president of the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce. He also served in leadership positions of the Dealer Advisory Council at various levels for Chrysler, Chevrolet and Buick.
Wayne came from a line of men known for their natural mechanical skills. He shared these skills freely with his family and others and nurtured them in his own children. His grandchildren never worried when they broke something because they knew Grandpa could fix it. He was beloved by both family and friends and will be sorely missed.
A registry is available at www.duffypilsmemorialhome.com.