Retired Deputy Chief Eugene “Pete” Peterson passed away peacefully following a brief illness on July 21, 2014.
Pete began his career with CDF in October 1949 when he was hired as a Dispatcher in the Tuolumne Ranger Unit. Prior to working for CDF, he had worked as a Patrolman with the US Forest Service on the Cleveland National Forest. Other future CDF’ers who worked with Pete on the Cleveland NF in the late 1940’s were Joe Springer, Jack Burke and Gil Belcher.
When Pete moved his young family to Sonora in 1949 the Ranger Unit Headquarters (currently the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau on W. Stockton Road) not only served as the Unit’s Headquarters, but Pete, his wife Jean and their 3 month old son, Steve, lived in the bedroom at the rear of the building as well.
After 3 years in Sonora, the family moved to Nevada City where Pete was the District Ranger. The family lived in the residence at the Nevada City FFS (now it’s the Mess Hall) and their daughter, Cindy, was born there in 1952.
Pete then worked in Mokelumne Hill as the West Point District Ranger; Auburn where he was the Assistant Superintendent at Iron Mine Camp; Riverside where he was the District VI Business Manager and back to Sonora in 1964 where Pete opened Baseline Conservation Camp/Sierra Training Center.
In his later years he opened the Calaveras Ecology Center at Vallecito for Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam War; Fresno where he was the District IV Camp Program Manager; Sacramento in the Camp Program Office and he retired in 1983 after he moved back to the Sierra Training Center.
Pete was an avid golfer. Along with Frank Cotter, Pete established the annual CDF Golf Tournament in 1976 which is still held annually in conjunction with the CDF 25 Year Club.
Pete is survived by his wife Jean. His son, Steve, retired in 2003 as the Lassen-Modoc Unit Chief. His grandson, Sean, is the Assistant Intelligence Coordinator for the US Forest Service at the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise, Idaho and another grandson, Adam, is a Firefighter in the Lassen-Modoc Unit. His daughter Cindy lives in Sausalito and his grandson Tony Fraguero has lived with Pete in Jamestown for the past 10 months, taking care of Papete.
At his request, no service is planned at this time.
Memorial contributions can be made to the CDF Museum, 3800 Sierra Way, San Bernardino, CA 92405.
Cards may be sent to the following addresses:
Mrs. Eugene Peterson
18717 Mill Villa Rd, Space 413,
Jamestown, CA 95327
3469 E. Salcombe Dr.
Meridian, ID 83642.