Obituary: Eric Arthur Peterson

Volunteer, sports fan, Damien grad, beloved son, uncle

Eric Arthur Peterson, 59, who grew up in Claremont and graduated from Damien High School in 1978, died unexpectedly after a brief illness on February 15 in Chico, California.

Eric is survived by his mother Rosemary, sister Sally, brothers Jim, Paul and Mark and numerous aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, in-laws and extended family. He was the son of Herbert Peterson, also deceased.

He was born Nov. 2, 1960, and his siblings say that while growing up he was the brightest, best looking and most athletic among them. In his late teens, he was diagnosed with a mental health condition with which he contended throughout his adult life. 

“It was Eric’s inner strength and support of his friends and family—in particular, parents Rosemary and Herb—that made it possible for him to lead a fulfilled, safe and spiritual life,” his family shared.

He regularly volunteered in various community support programs with St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Paradise, California. He had numerous friends among the congregation and was known as a kind, giving man and companion and protector of his mother. He was also a great sports fan, loving soccer, women’s tennis and softball, and Notre Dame football.

He was known for calling numerous family members at a regular time each week. He seemed to have a magical sense to ask or comment about something uniquely specific to the person he was calling. Sometimes it was to ask about their children. For others, it was to say how proud he was of them and the life they were living. 

For his niece Morgana, an orphan adopted by his sister Sally, it was reminding her she had a big family that loved and supported her. For his sister-in-law, it was thanking her for supporting and fighting for him. 

It was after he survived the Paradise Camp Fire, during which he spent the night alone in a parking lot, watching his residence burn to the ground with propane tanks exploding around him, that he achieved a new level of independence. With the help of his sister-in-law Teri (Bovett) Peterson, he was able to move into his own home in Chico and live independently for the first time. He was proud of his new place, loved to have visitors to share his snacks, and it brought him real joy until his passing. 

A memorial celebration of his life will be held with his immediate family. 

In lieu of flowers, please send remembrances to The Abbey of Our Lady of New Clairvaux in Vina, California at


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