Every now and then someone in real life merits the title of hero; such is the case with H. Burke Peterson. This valiant and loving soul laid down his mortal cares and honorably left this earth to start his new mission on the other side. Harold Burke Peterson joined his sweet Brookie on April 14, 2013, four months to the day after she left this life for the next. He passed away in the home he loved in Bountiful, Utah at the age of 89, surrounded by his daughters on either side of the veil, leaving behind a legacy of unconditional love, service, commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and countless individuals eternally changed by his sweet countenance and loving care.
On September 19, 1923, Burke was blessed to be the first of four sons of Harold Anton and Juna Tye Peterson. This “well-matched team” raised the four brothers with tender attention, caring discipline, and abundant affection in the dry heat of the Arizona tumbleweeds. With a foundation of hard work, obedience, honesty and the gospel never were four brothers more dedicated to the personal welfare of each other-Burke loved each one.
World War II broke out and shortly after his 19th birthday, Burke joined the Navy in 1942. He underwent training and eventually served in the South Pacific as a commissioned Ensign and Seabee. He returned home to finish his Bachelors Degree at the University of Arizona, but found something even better: Brookie Mae Cardon. She surprised him when she introduced herself and then proceeded to ask him to the girls’ choice dance, and he enthusiastically pursued the relationship. After 63 days of courtship, Burke asked his beloved Brookie to marry him. From there they were soon sealed in the Mesa, Arizona Temple on June 27, 1947. The two sweethearts journeyed to Logan, Utah where they finished a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering and began their family. Their home was eventually blessed with five daughters who watched their parents continue their courtship throughout their lives. The “Five Lovelies” were each given love, security and meaningful attention that was later extended to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The young family eventually settled down back in Arizona where Burke worked for the U.S Department of Agriculture and then became a founding partner in the Engineering Corporation of America in 1955. During this time he served diligently in the church as a bishop, stake president, and a regional representative of the Twelve. In the April 1972 General Conference, be was called by President Joseph Fielding Smith as First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. He faithfully left his engineering career and moved with his family to Bountiful to fulfill this calling for the Lord. He served in this position until 1985 when he became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, later serving with his wife Brookie as the President and Matron of the Jordan River Utah Temple. He was also extensively involved with the Boy Scouts of America and the management of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Throughout all his years of service, he was rarely found without Brookie by his side. They traveled, spoke and worked together until Burke was granted Emeritus status as a General Authority in 1993.
At a young age, Burke’s testimony of the gospel blossomed as he learned the value of personal prayer and scripture study. His life was blessed as he dedicated himself to the Lord, and in turn he blessed the lives of so many others. His family and close friends will miss his happy spirit, crushing bear hugs, sweet nicknames, and enthusiasm that never failed to bring us cheer. We have never known a greater champion of the underdog, the outcast, or the down trodden. His life will continue to be a model of righteous living to those he has left behind. We can only hope to follow his example and cannot wait to see him again.
He is preceded in death by his dear wife Brookie; his parents; one brother, Evan Tye Peterson; and two daughters: Sherrie (Roger) Decker and Robin (James) Pedersen. He is survived by three daughters: Gayle (William) Steele, Jana (Mark) Staples, and Keri (Bruce) Nielsen; two brothers, John Richard and Robert Warren Peterson; innumerable nieces and nephews; 24 grandchildren; and 58 great-grandchildren. In total, Burke and Brookie’s progeny total 111 very blessed souls.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April. 20, at 11 a.m. at the Bountiful Hills Ward Building, 1190 E. Bountiful Hills Drive, Bountiful. Viewings will be held on Friday, April 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 295 N. Main St., Bountiful, and Saturday, April 20, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Bountiful Hills Ward Building prior to the funeral service. Interment will immediately follow at the Lakeview Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the LDS Missionary Fund. Online guestbook at www.russonmortuary.com.