Gary M. Peterson, 77, Topeka, passed away Tuesday, December 5, 2017.
Gary was born July 1, 1940, in Clay Center, KS, the son of Marvin and Fern Peterson. He was a graduate of Topeka High School in 1958 and then attended Washburn University, where he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Business and was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He was a 4-year letterman in football for Washburn, where he played both offensive guard and defensive linebacker.
Gary married Vicki Loebsack on November 27, 1963, in Topeka.
Gary began his working career at the Topeka-based Goodyear manufacturing plant and later moved to Franklin Manufacturing Co. in Webster City, IA, where he was involved with personnel management with both firms. In 1973, Gary and his family moved back to Topeka after he was accepted to Washburn Law School. He passed the bar and began private practice in 1976, specializing in workers’ compensation. In 1993, Gary was appointed to the newly established Kansas Workers Compensation Appeals Board as a judge, where he was instrumental in establishing the guidelines for workers’ compensation for the state of Kansas. He retired from the board in 2003. He finished his career working part-time for Jeff Cooper at his law firm, where Gary played a consultative role with workers’ comp cases and helped with many written opinions.
Gary was very involved in his community, including the United Way, Sherwood Lake Club, Topeka Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association and American Bar Association. But, his greatest passion was coaching his sons in football, basketball and baseball. Over the years, he positively affected the lives of many young athletes.
Gary and his wife Vicki loved to travel and enjoyed many cruises throughout their married years, including cruises through the Mediterranean and Asia. In recent years, they spent winter months in Maui and Aruba, with Aruba being their preferred destination. Gary and Vicki also loved playing golf and were long-time club members – first with Shawnee Country Club and then with Topeka Country Club. Most of all, they loved to dance. They danced on their first date and never stopped dancing through 54 years of marriage.
Survivors include his wife, Vicki, of 54 years; his two sons, Jeff (Gayla) and their children, Blake and Lauren, Topeka, and Jared (Lisa) and their children, Tayler, Rylee and Hayden, Owasso, OK. He also is survived by his sister, JoAnn Smith, Las Vegas, NV, her four sons and their families.
A celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at Topeka Fellowship Bible Church, Topeka, KS. A reception and lunch will follow in the church atrium.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to CASA of Shawnee County, 501 SE Jefferson, Suite 2002, Topeka, KS 66607, or visit www.casaofshawneecounty.com.
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