Claude Peterson

Claude “Sonny” Peterson – father, husband, brother, and friend – passed peacefully on September 8, 2023, at Mountain View Living Center in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Sonny was born on October 31, 1932, in Edgemont, South Dakota to Claude Anton Peterson and Marguerite Gregg. The family relocated to Sheridan County, Wyoming, where as a young man Sonny worked as a horse trainer and rodeo rider.

Sonny enlisted in the Navy at 17 and served as a seaman on the USS Toledo throughout the Korean War. He was tremendously proud of his service to the country and was honored in 2018 with the Korean War Ambassador for Peace Medal, an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to United States service men and women who served in the war.

After the war, Sonny began a long career as a mechanic and machinist. He met the love of his life, Shirley, and her daughters while working at Valley Motors in Sheridan. In 1970, the new family welcomed son Bryan, who was Sonny’s shadow and “mini-me” in all things.

Sonny and Shirley moved to Casper shortly thereafter and settled in Evansville. Sonny worked road construction for many years, serving as an oiler, mechanic, and supervisor on projects throughout Wyoming and surrounding states. Shirley and the kids joined him on the road each summer. No road trip with Sonny was complete without his recounting of the building and reconstruction of Wyoming highways and the good friends he met along the way.

Sonny was a voracious reader and lifelong learner, and he instilled those values in his children. Sonny collected books on Wyoming history and regaled visitors with tales of the Wild West. He became a skilled gunsmith, and many of his customers remained close friends throughout his life.

Retirement didn’t mean slowing down for Sonny! Relocating to Ranchester in 2005, he and Shirley partnered with daughter Melissa and son-in-law Mike in acquiring and operating the Lazy R Campground. They soon added a sporting goods store to the mix, where Sonny enjoyed gunsmithing and visiting with friends. Sonny and Shirley retired (again) to Sheridan in 2014.

Sonny was a dedicated outdoorsman with a specific fondness for hunting (hiking around in the outdoors with seeming ambivalence about bringing home a deer) and fishing. He continued to tie flies and plan trips to his beloved Dead Swede campground until his final days.

Sonny was delighted by young children and enjoyed celebrating his Halloween birthday by handing out candy and admiring the costumes of his little friends.

We’re left feeling both sorrow and joy as Sonny reunites with his soulmate, Shirley, and his siblings Darla Jean, John, Loretta, and George. He leaves behind wonderful memories with his children Bryan (Martha) Peterson, Cheryl (Tommy) McLendon, Melissa (Mike) Butcher, and Pamela (Chuck) Robertson; siblings Cleo (George) Haler, Marian (Leonard) Black, Eric (Sandy) Peterson, Laura Lynn (Floyd) Bennett, and Pia Parrish; grandchildren Dallas (Hannah) Cannon, Jaime (Brad) Hutto, Ken (Liz) Knight, Jay Meadows, and McKenzie Butcher; and great-grandchildren John, Maegan, Shelby, Nova, Kayden, Greyson, Amelia, and Addie.

A Celebration of Life is at 3:00 P.M.,  Sunday, October 8, 2023, at Innominate Bakery, 652 US Highway 14, Ranchester, WY 82839.

Inurnment with Military Honors is at 11:00 A.M., Monday, October 9, 2023, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery, 80 Veterans Rd, Evansville, WY 82836.

Online condolences may be made to Arrangements are under the care of Sheridan Funeral Home.

1 Comment

  1. How I loved that man and spending time with him.
    I spent several months at the campground while working at the VA. He spent many hours teaching me his fun trade (although it all went over my head). He has great stories. Mostly I just liked being with him. I visited with them when they moved to Sheridan, and with him after Shirley died.

    Melissa’s if you can see this… my condolences. We will be spending time at the Lazy R next summer as we travel after retirement!!!

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