Bill Petersen, a longtime Rotary member since 1980, passed away July 16, 2015.  Bill was a member of the Membership Caring Committee.  One to always call or visit Rotarians who were home bound or in the hospital.  A very stoic man with a special warmth to all that knew him.
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A Christmas baby, Bill was born Dec. 25, 1929, in Chicago, to Hugo William and Myrtle Engh Petersen. Bill liked to joke that he was 10 before he realized all the holiday festivities weren’t just for him.
Bill’s family moved to South Bend, where he graduated from South Bend Central High School and first met Millicent "Millie" Myers.
Bill earned his undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and his master’s degree at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Bill served as a special agent in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps in Japan during the Korean War. He was assigned to the personal security staff of General I.D. White, Supreme Commander of all U.S. Army forces in the Pacific.
Bill and Millie were married Sept. 26, 1953, and have three children, Nancy (Robert) Terry of Fort Collins, Colo., and Eric (Tecia) and Christopher (Amy), both of Elkhart.
Bill began his 31-year career with Selmer Co. in 1959. In 1969, he was promoted to vice president of manufacturing. He was president and CEO from 1975 to 1990. He was a member of the board of directors for Premier Drum Co. in Leicestershire, England, while president of Selmer. During his tenure as president, Selmer became the world’s largest manufacturer of band and orchestral instruments. He always attributed this milestone achievement to the cooperation between company management and the online employees. As president of Selmer, he and Millie traveled the world, including trips to South America, Europe and Asia. They were honored to spend a month in China when China first opened its doors to the west.
In many ways Bill was larger than life. He was the family patriarch, a wonderful provider and protector of those whom he loved. He had a quick wit and an active mind. Bill was involved in the Elkhart community he loved and was proud of.
A member of the Elks and Elcona Country Clubs, a six-year Elkhart School Board member, and was president of the school board when Elkhart Memorial High School was built.
He was a docent for the Midwest Museum of American Art, a S.C.O.R.E. (Service Corps of Retired Executives) counselor and involved in Junior Achievement. He was a member of the board of directors of several local companies over the years. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church.
On a lighter note, he was a charter member of the Brandy Boys — a band of businessmen who gathered for brunch and a bit of brandy after rousing tennis matches on Saturdays. The Brandy Boys expanded to include wives for dinners and a Christmas party. In later years he joined the Horseradish Group, where the men would “meet for lunch and solve the world’s problems.”
Bill enjoyed golf and tennis for many years. The highlight of his golf career was winning the Elcona Men’s Senior Buddy Championship in 2005 with his friend, Tom Slager. He enjoyed playing bridge, reading, the book club at the Bristol Library and spending Fridays with his youngest grandsons, Patrick and Michael, who learned to played chess and poker with their “Papa.”
For the past 20-plus years, Bill and Millie spent winters at Ocean House in Stuart, Fla., where they enjoyed many close friendships.
He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Millie; their three children, Nancy, Eric and Chris; his sister, Phyllis Schweinzger of Elkhart; and five grandchildren, Natalie Terry of Fort Collins, Ryan and Melissa Petersen, both of Elkhart, and Patrick and Michael Petersen, both of Elkhart.