EULOGY FOR MICHAEL STEPHEN PETERSON
read by his Mother, Janet Mack
Good afternoon. While this day is so filled with sadness and bewilderment, Mike will be thrilled that you all came out here today. I want to thank all of you who visited him in the hospital these past 12 weeks. I have a couple things I want to say about my son, and then will ask others to speak. Mike’s sister Jacque and half-brother Aaron are here today.
Mike was born 56 years ago. While his first six years were the normal exuberance of a very cute bright-eyed baby and child, the remaining years of his life were variously filled with ups and downs and always - a huge void. That void has been right here for fifty years. (Gravesite of Steve Peterson). He lost his father suddenly in an auto accident when he was six. For many years, his stepfather, Chet Thomas, filled the void - almost to excess.
Mike’s friend and our neighbor, Scott Thurman, passed away just three months ago. That prompted a conversation about the funny go-carts Chet used to build for him and the neighborhood kids. In this conversation, he talked about the motorcycles they rode, and the day Chet took him to a Portland Roadster Show where the racecar “The Assassin” was being shown, owned by Chet and two others. In the hospital about three weeks ago, Mike talked about that racecar as if it was parked right outside the hospital doors. I had no idea he still harbored love for the idea of drag racing or that particular racecar (a ’35 Willys, AA Fuel Dragster). At 56 no less.
In later years, more people came into Mike’s life who also had lasting impact. He got a maintenance job at a hospital, which he loved, managed by his new stepfather, Terry. He then worked for his Uncle Stan, who is here today, as a land surveyor chainman. His most recent job as a cook at two restaurants turned out to be the happiest I had seen him in a long time. He bonded with his co-workers, some of who are here today, and loved his two bosses, Kris (here today) and Kris’s wife Petroula.
Mike was briefly married in the mid-eighties to Jane. Later, in 2006 and 2008, he had two adorable girls, Mackenzie and Andrea. He has not seen them in several years but they would be ten and twelve today. Andrea, the youngest, had open-heart surgery on her second birthday; a procedure Mike was himself waiting for and expected to undergo next week.
As a mother of three children, I never, ever thought one would pass before me and that I would be standing here today. I will miss Mike yet am comforted that he is no longer suffering the cruelty that took him. Modern medicine tried to save him in every way, but in the end, he followed that voice that was calling him, be it a God, a Higher Power, or just a Quiet Spirit.