Clifford Leonard “Cliff” Peterson, age 93, died peacefully on Sunday December 29, 2019. He is survived by his daughter, Melinda M. Gauthier and her husband Mark of Sterling, his son, Leonard S. “Lennie” Peterson and his fiancée Samantha Larocque of Kingston, and his loving grandchildren, Kevin Gauthier, Jackie Reidy, and Todd Rawley. He is also survived by his four great-grandchildren, Noah, Carly, Josie, and Cam; a son-in-law, Bruce T. Rawley; as well as his loving partner and companion of fourteen years, Judith Taft.
Cliff is predeceased by his wife, Shirley (Coleman) Peterson, and his second wife, Mildred (Allen) Peterson; as well as his daughter, Christine Rawley, who passed away in October, and his brother, Stanley Peterson.
Cliff (b. September 8, 1926) and his two siblings were born in Worcester. When he was five years old, his parents, Ida (Anderson) and Swedish immigrant Ernest Peterson, moved the family to West Boylston, MA and attended the West Boylston Public Schools.
Cliff enlisted in the Navy directly out of high school in 1944 and, as a reserve cadet, qualified for the Navy Music School; however, he was late with his decision and became a Seabee. As a result of a submarine attack in the South Pacific, he was hospitalized and given an honorable discharge with disability status after four years of service.
In 1950, Cliff married Shirley Coleman from Mendon, MA. The couple had three children and he continued his career as a machinist and die sinker at Wyman Gordon company in Grafton, MA where the family made their home. A highlight of his life, Cliff eventually had the opportunity to go to Bombay, India for six months for the company where he trained workers there in his specialized trade. Cliff retired after 39 years at Wyman Gordon.
Sadly, after many years of being happily married, Shirley died in 1985 after succumbing to leukemia. Cliff then married Mildred Allen and became residents of Leicester, MA and then Auburn, MA. They enjoyed life together with many travels and an active social life for 19 years. In 2006, Millie was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed shortly after.
In the following years, Cliff was appreciative of the support from his family as well as his devoted longtime girlfriend, Judi Taft, and her family and his countless friends. He considered his family and friends a “godsend”.
Outside of his family, Cliff enjoyed several hobbies, good food, camping, travel, fun, and a special love of music. As a life-long trumpet player, he performed with many Central Massachusetts community and marching bands. Later in life, he was the conductor of the Aletheia Grotto Band, leading the band in countless public performances and charity concerts throughout many years.
He was a Master Mason (Franklin Lodge A.F. & A.M. Shrewsbury) and a member of the Aleppo Shriners as well as a longtime active member, secretary, and president of the Greendale Men’s Club. He was also a member and guest preacher at his church, the First Congregational Church in Auburn, MA.
The recent heartbreak of his daughter Christine’s illness and death coincided with his health issues and natural death. He died peacefully in the hospital in the presence of family and friends, just 2 days after leaving his residence at The Overlook in Charlton, MA.
His many loved ones will cherish the stories, happy memories, and laughter he left behind for a lifetime.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend calling hours from 4 to 7 PM on Monday, January 6, 2020 at the BRITTON-WALLACE FUNERAL HOME, 91 Central Street,
Auburn, MA. Funeral services for Cliff will be held on Tuesday January 7, 2020 at 11:00 AM at the First Congregational Church of Auburn, 128 Central Street, Auburn, MA followed by burial in Riverside-Fairview Cemetery in Grafton.