Obituary for William (Bill) Peterson |

Obituary for William (Bill) Peterson

William (Bill)


June 14, 1945 – August 27, 2021

William Ray Peterson (Dad), left us too early, at the age of 76, while at his home of 45 years, in Grass Valley, California. Bill was born in Sacramento, California, to John Ray Peterson and Gertrude Peterson (Kroll). Bill and his family lived in the Sacramento area until his freshman year in high school when the family moved to Grass Valley. Bill attended Nevada Union High School at the original location on Zion Street in Nevada City. In his senior year he met the love of his life, Chellie Miller, the new “city girl” who had just moved to Grass Valley from Mountain View, California. It was love at first sight and he never took his eyes off of her one moment during their 56 years of marriage.

He loved music and sang in the Nevada Union High School choir under Don Baggett, as did his children and grandchildren, and also sung in the Cornish Choir. Chellie, who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, joined the choir to hopefully meet Bill.

Dad loved buying new cars, new boats and his beloved Harley Davidson Dyna-something or other and none of us ever fully understood this obsession. But even his obsessions never outshone his love for Chellie or the love he had for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Bill shared his faith freely with those whom he came in contact with.

Bill will probably be best known for co-owning Hedman Furniture in downtown Grass Valley. Bill started working for Harold Hedman in 1966, at the original location on South Auburn Street across from Hennessy Elementary School (for you old timers). Bill was always very active in all aspects of the business. In 1971, Harold Hedman was retiring and asked Bill if he wanted to buy the business. So Bill, Chellie and his in-laws Coy Miller Sr. and Lorraine Miller bought the business. Thirty days after buying the store, it burned to the ground and one of the largest structure fires in Grass Valley ensued. But Bill and team were not discouraged, with the help of family and friends, they quickly moved to their new location adjacent to the Del Oro Theatre on Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley. Bill was one of several business owners who saw the need for a formal organization to bring businesses together in the downtown area. Together they created the Grass Valley Downtown Association, which is still paramount in helping build a thriving downtown business district.

Bill retired early due to his battle fighting Parkinson’s. During his retirement, he enjoyed tending his roses, feeding his birds and spending time with family.

Bill is survived by his wife, Chellie, sister (Claudia Novotny) and brother (Bob Peterson), son Matt (Kate) and daughters Lori Sams (Eric) and Lisa West (Steve), 8 grandchildren (Alex (Bailey), Elizabeth, Emma, Corinne, Megan, Anna, Michelle & Gabby) and 2 great grandchildren (Jack & Jovie).


Memorial Services to be held at Twin Cities Church, Grass Valley California on Sunday, September 19 at 3pm. In remembrance of Bill, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to Christian Encounter Ministries (530-268-0877)

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