Don Peterson

[22 OCT 1933 - L1 - 20259 - 27 MAY 2018]

NASA Biographical Data

Don Peterson Eulogies

AOG Testimonials



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





L-1 Firsties - 1st Row: John M. Hamilton - Hasbrouck - Cheesborough - Hergenroeder - LaFrenz - Myers - St. Amour - 2nd Row: Struss - Howie Stone (CO) - Bean - Malooley - Leventis - 3rd Row: Mike Brown - Minich - Floyd - 4th Row: Boyd - Jim Strickland - Peterson - Vandersea



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





Left: West - Funkhouser - Lucas - Freed - Peterson x55 - Cardillo - Right: Klett x55 - Wargowsky - Weissenborn - Peterson - Lauer x55 - Skaff [The Iron Squad - AUG 1951]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Click on picture for larger version



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


2015 AOG Online Register
(Updated JUL 2019)

Donald H. Peterson Cullum No: 20259 Class of: 1955 Born: MS Appointment: Branch: AF Date of Death: May 27, 2018 (View Memorial Article) History: 20259 Donald Herod Peterson B-MS: AF: MSNE AFIT 62: FgnTechDiv WrightPattersonAFB [CM]: AeroReschPltS 67: Manned Orbital Laboratory Prgm SAMSO 67-69 [MSM]: Astronaut SpaceShuttlePrgm Johnson Space Ctr 70: Ret 79 COL: Astronaut NASA 80-84: Pres Aspace Ops Cslts 84-95: Cslt 95: D - El Lago, TX 27May18 a-84: Ob-2019 TAPS

Register Glossary


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Bonnie Ruth (Love) Peterson

(11 MAY 1935 - 20 AUG 2017)

Bonnie Ruth Love came into the world on May 11, 1935, in Eupora, Mississippi, surrounded by loving hands and smiling faces. She was the youngest daughter of Tom and Nora Lee Love. She grew up on a farm in a small rural town with her five brothers and sisters. Sisters Peg, Billye, and June, and brothers Tom and Jeff worked hard to help their parents to make life run smoothly. In later years, her siblings would teasingly tell stories around the supper table of how Bonnie got off easy, being the baby girl, but they all knew everyone had their roles, and none of them were easy. Yet, all of them did their chores willingly and their small home was filled with respect and love for one another which would last their entire lives. Tom and Nora Lee's children were raised with discipline, but also good humor and all of them were taught southern hospitality. Later in life, they would instill those values in their own children. Family was everything.

They soon moved to Coffeeville, Mississippi where Bonnie would attend high school. She did well in school and was on the cheerleading squad. She was a beauty even then and full of fun and personality, with an infectious smile.

After high school Bonnie moved away to attend business school, where she graduated and began working. It is here she would meet the love of her life, Don Peterson, also from Mississippi and a recent West Point graduate. He would soon join the Air Force.

They dated, soon married and began their almost 60 years together. They had three children; Don Jr, Jean, and Shari. Since Don was in the Air Force the family moved frequently and Bonnie quickly adapted to being a great military wife. Though Mississippi would always be referred to as 'home' Bonnie loved traveling with Don across the country to all the places they lived. Whether living in Alabama, Ohio, California, Arizona, Louisiana or Tennessee to name a few, that personality and smile of hers served her well in making life long friends from each stop along the way. Don would often have to go 'TDY' so Bonnie was in charge of the home and making sure the children adjusted well in school, made new friends and got involved with activities after school as well. This would not be a problem for her, in fact she excelled in this area. She was the perfect mom.

When Don was selected by NASA for the Space Shuttle program the family would move to Seabrook, Texas where they would remain the rest of her life. Here she watched her kids grow up and graduate high school. She filled her days loving and supporting her husband and attending all necessary events with him. She loved the ladies' groups and bridge groups she belonged to. But what she loved more than anything was cheering on her kids at their events. Whether it was baseball, volleyball, swimming, diving, cheerleading or other activities they were participating in, she was there, always supportive and encouraging. She loved when their friends came to the house and always invited them to stay for a meal. It's that southern hospitality thing.

After her children moved out, got married, and went on with their own lives, her favorite thing to hear was a voice calling out 'BonBon?' That meant her children and grandchildren and more recently great grandchildren had come to visit. It was what she and husband 'Daggy' woke up thinking, smiling and talking about every single day.

Bonnie left a warm, caring impression on all she met. She left this world August 20, 2017 the way she came into it, surrounded by loving hands and smiling faces.

Bonnie is preceded in death by parents; Tom and Nora Lee Love, Sisters; Peggy Love Bruce, Billye Love Hise, and June Jung, Brother; Tom C Love. She is survived by Husband; Donald H Peterson, Brother; Jeff Love, Brother in laws; Gil Peterson and Bill Jung, Sister in law; Montez Love, Son; Don Peterson Jr (JoAnn), Daughters; Jean (Bob), and Shari, Grandchildren; Shannon Peterson Hathaway (Joe) Katie Peterson Senor (Jordan), Max and Jeff Stone, Great Grandchildren Molly Kate and Macy Senor, and Laney and Ella Hathaway and numerous nieces and nephews and other family members she loved.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 6pm with a reception to follow at Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E. Medical Center Blvd., Webster, TX 77598.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Local Classmate Assistant (LCA) Information

Class Remembrance: Charity

Preferred Charity: Winona, Mississippi VFW/American Legion

Suggested LCA: TBD



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *




Colonel Donald H. Peterson (AF Ret)

(Oct. 22, 1933 - May 27, 2018)

Born in Winona, Mississippi to Henry W. and Mabel Strickland Peterson, Don and his younger brother Gil grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other, all worked hard for a living, and were willing to give their neighbor a helping hand when needed. It was a simpler time, no AC, TV, computers or jet airplanes. Growing up Don loved to read, (mostly science fiction) and play outdoors using his vivid imagination; with friends he stayed in touch with his entire life. He would later tell his own children that as a young boy he had reoccurring dreams of flying, without the aid of wings or a plane, just soaring above the Earth. This dream set him on a quest for knowledge to discover the universe and its secrets.

It was while attending Winona High School that Don excelled in math and science. He credits his math teacher, Ruth Smith, with recognizing his gift and providing individual math instruction beyond the curriculum the small high school offered, enabling him to achieve the education needed for college admittance and scholarships.

His hard work paid off and after high school graduation he received an appointment to West Point. At the age of 17, Don boarded a train and headed out of his small Mississippi community to attend The Military Academy at West Point in New York. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1955 receiving his diploma from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and began his Air Force career. He would later earn his Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1962.

While serving in the Air Force and stationed in Greenville, Miss., Don met Bonnie Love. They married in 1957. They were together nearly 60 years and raised three children, Don Jr., Jean, and Shari. Later, their spouses, four grandchildren, and four great grandchildren would join in the family gatherings.

Don's Air Force career would last 24 years until he retired with the rank of Colonel. During this journey, Don would achieve many accomplishments. He went to test pilot school at Edwards AF Base and in 1967 was one of the third group of astronauts selected for the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program.(MOL). When this program was canceled, Don became a NASA astronaut in 1969.

Don moved his family to El Lago, TX. to begin his NASA training. He would remain here until the day he died. While with NASA he served on the Apollo 16 Support Crew, and in 1983 flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS 6) with crew members Commander Paul Weitz, Pilot Col. Karol Bobko, and Dr. Story Musgrave. As a mission specialist, Don performed the first EVA, (spacewalk) along with Story Musgrave. He resigned from NASA in 1984 and began his own consulting firm for work involving manned aerospace operations.

He had a remarkable career, but Don would tell you his greatest joy was caring for and spending time with his wife and family. His favorite title was 'Dad or Daggy'. He was an active supporter in all three of his children's academic endeavors, sports teams, and other extracurricular activities. He encouraged them to set goals, put in the work to reach them, then set higher goals and keep at it. The sky was not the limit. He was proud of each of their accomplishments and never hesitated to tell them. Saying 'I love you' came easy and often from him. This love continued through the next generation. He told his grandchildren, 'holding them in his rocking chair was better than floating in space.' His unconditional love for all of them will be treasured always.

In his last years he liked spending time in his backyard on his swing sipping coffee or sweet tea and admiring his azaleas. He will be remembered as an honest, giving, caring, gentle man. Don died peacefully at home surrounded by his children. His family is comforted knowing his childhood dream of flying has been fulfilled in this life and hereafter.

Don is preceded in death by his parents; Henry W. and Mabel Peterson and his loving wife Bonnie Love Peterson.

He is survived by Brother; Gil Peterson, Children Don Jr. (JoAnn) Peterson, Jean (Bob) Stone, and Shari Peterson, Grandchildren; Shannon (Joe) Hathaway, Katie (Jordan) Senor, Max Stone and Jeff Stone, Great Grandchildren; Molly Kate and Macy Senor, and Laney and Ella Hathaway, Brother in law; Bill Jung, Nephews; Butch, Mike, and Sam Jung, and many other nieces, nephews and family members whom he loved dearly.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to his team of caregivers that enabled him to live out his life at home. Special thanks to Wanda, Brittney, and Candice and the Heart to Heart Hospice Care.

A Memorial Service will be held at Crowder Funeral Home, located at 111 E. Medical Center Blvd. Webster, TX. 77598 on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. with a reception immediately following.

In lieu of flowers, Don's request is that you make a donation in his name to the charity of your choice. Don always believed 'the more you gave, the more you had."


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Colonel Don Peterson Memorial

Friends of Colonel Don Peterson are raising funds to erect a bronze statue in honor and memory of Don in his hometown of Winona, Mississippi.

The total project cost is $150,000. We plan to break this into three phases with a goal of $50,000 per phase.


Donald Peterson was born in Winona, Mississippi, on October 22, 1933. Peterson graduated from Winona High School in 1951.

He enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955, electing to join the Air Force. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After working with Air Training Command until 1960, he was asked if he would be interested in getting a degree in nuclear engineering so he could join a program involving aircraft powered by a nuclear reactor. He enrolled in nuclear engineering at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology. Six months before graduation, the program was cancelled. He earned his Master of Science degree in 1962. He also worked towards his Ph.D. at the University of Texas.

After graduating from West Point in 1955, Peterson's assignments included four years as a flight instructor and military training officer with the Air Training Command, three years as a nuclear systems analyst with the Air Force Systems Command, and one year as a fighter pilot with Tactical Air Command, including three months of combat weapons training.

He was a graduate of the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was one of the third group of astronauts assigned to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. He logged over 5,300 hours flying time, including more than 5,000 hours in jet aircraft.

Peterson became a NASA astronaut in September 1969 after the MOL program was cancelled. He served on the astronaut support crew for Apollo 16.

Peterson retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of colonel after having completed more than 24 years of active service, but continued his assignment as a NASA astronaut in a civilian capacity. His areas of responsibility included engineering support, man/machine interface, and safety assessment.

Peterson was a mission specialist on STS-6, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 4, 1983. He was accompanied by Paul J. Weitz (spacecraft commander), Col. Karol J. Bobko (Pilot), and Dr. Story Musgrave (Mission Specialist).

During this maiden voyage of the spacecraft Challenger, the STS-6 crew conducted numerous experiments in materials processing, recorded lightning activities, deployed the first tracking and data relay satellite (TDRS-A), and activated three Getaway Specials. Peterson and Musgrave conducted the Shuttle program's first extravehicular activity (EVA) to test the new suit, the Shuttle airlock, and new tools and techniques for construction and repair outside a spacecraft. After 120 hours of orbital operations STS-6 landed on the concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 9, 1983. With the completion of this flight, Don Peterson had logged 4 hours 15 minutes in extravehicular activity and a total of 120 hours in space.

Peterson resigned from the NASA Astronaut Corps in November 1984, and worked as a consultant in the area of manned aerospace operations.

Peterson married Bonnie Ruth Love in 1957. They had three children. Don died on May 27, 2018, at his home in El Lago, Texas at the age of 84.

He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the JSC Group Achievement Award (1972).


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





Donald H. Peterson 1955

Cullum No. 20259-1955 - May 27, 2018
Died in El Lago, TX
Cremated. Ashes scattered.


Born in Winona, MS to Henry W. and Mabel Strickland Peterson, Donald Herod Peterson Sr. and his younger brother Gil grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other, worked hard for a living, and was willing to give their neighbor a helping hand when needed. It was a simpler time, no AC, TV, computers or jet airplanes. Growing up Don loved to read (mostly science fiction) and played outdoors using his vivid imagination (with friends he stayed in touch with his entire life). He would later tell his own children that as a young boy he had recurring dreams of flying, without the aid of wings or a plane, just soaring above the Earth. This dream set him on a quest for knowledge to discover the universe and its secrets.

Don excelled in math and science at Winona High School. He credits his math teacher, Ruth Smith, with recognizing his gift and providing individual math instruction beyond the curriculum the small high school offered, enabling him to achieve the education needed for college admittance and scholarships.

Don's hard work paid off, and after high school graduation he received an appointment to West Point. At the age of 17, Don boarded a train and headed out of his small Mississippi community to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955, receiving his diploma from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and began his Air Force career. He would later earn his master's degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1962.

While serving in the Air Force at a base in Greenville, MS, Don met Bonnie Love. They married in 1957. They were together nearly 60 years and raised three children: Don Jr., Jean, and Shari. Later, their spouses, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren would join in the family gatherings.

Don's Air Force career would last 24 years until he retired with the rank of colonel. During this journey, Don would achieve many accomplishments. He went to test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base and, in 1967, was one of the third group of astronauts selected for the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program (MOL). When this program was canceled, Don became a NASA astronaut in 1969.

Don moved his family to El Lago, TX to begin his NASA training. He would remain there until the day he died. While with NASA he served on the Apollo 16 Support Crew and, in 1983, flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-6) with crew members Paul Weitz (commander), Colonel Karol Bobko (pilot), and Dr. Story Musgrave (mission specialist). As a mission specialist himself, Don performed the shuttle program's first EVA (spacewalk), along with Musgrave. He resigned from NASA in 1984 and began his own consulting firm for work involving manned aerospace operations.

He had a remarkable career, but Don would tell you his greatest joy was caring for and spending time with his wife and family. His favorite title was 'Dad' or 'Daggy.' He was an active supporter in all three of his children's academic endeavors, sports teams, and other extracurricular activities. He encouraged them to set goals, put in the work to reach them, then set higher goals and keep at it. The sky was not the limit. He was proud of each of their accomplishments and never hesitated to tell them. Saying 'I love you' came easy and often from him. This love continued through the next generation. He told his grandchildren that 'holding them in his rocking chair was better than floating in space.' His unconditional love for all of them will be treasured always.

In his last years he liked spending time in his backyard on his swing sipping coffee or sweet tea and admiring his azaleas. He will be remembered as an honest, giving, caring, gentle man. Don died peacefully at home surrounded by his children. His family is comforted knowing his childhood dream of flying has been fulfilled in this life and hereafter.

Don is preceded in death by his parents, Henry W. and Mabel Peterson, and his loving wife, Bonnie Love Peterson.

He is survived by his brother, Gil Peterson; his children: Don Jr. (JoAnn) Peterson, Jean (Bob) Stone, and Shari Peterson; his grandchildren: Shannon (Joe) Hathaway, Katie (Jordan) Senor, Max Stone and Jeff Stone; and his great-grandchildren: Molly Kate and Macy Senor, and Laney and Ella Hathaway.

TAPS Memorial Article


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


West Point 1955 Home Page

Personal Web Pages

All rights reserved - West Point Class of 1955