Robert Allan Peterson

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Robert Peterson


Aug. 18, 1947 – Nov. 19, 2010

Bob Peterson, a local attorney and 25-year Laguna Beach resident, passed away from brain cancer late last year.

He was born in Glendale, Calif., and attended grammar school in La Habra. In his pre-teens, he lived in Caracas, Venezuela, and in northern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and graduated with honors from Whittier High School.

He was in the first class to enroll at UC Irvine, but later transferred to UC Berkeley. Peterson graduated from Hastings Law School in San Francisco.

He moved to Corona del Mar and worked for Judge Robert Gardner, a fellow surfer, for two years. Peterson went into private practice in Newport Beach and later in Laguna Beach, where he moved and met a neighbor, Sally Davis, who became the love of his life and his wife. It was a love affair for the ages. He also embraced her daughters, Lisa, Dianna, and Kathy.

Peterson was known as the tall, fun-loving, intellectual guy with the Robert Redford looks and the Gregory Peck voice. He loved travel, The New York Times crossword puzzles, fine wine and food and was a gracious host at many dinner parties for their friends in The Travelling Kitchens of Laguna Beach cooking group and for fundraisers at their home.

He was both well-informed and analytical and enjoyed lively conversations on politics and other issues of the day. His signature gesture touching his index finger to his nose indicated agreement and that the speaker had hit it “on the nose” or exactly right.

Peterson’s love of the law and passion for justice was expressed in helping people in need  navigate the complexities of the legal system. He was known for his legal acumen and integrity.

Papa Bob shared his love of the ocean with his six grandchildren. Axel, Kristina, Karl, Emily, Jack and Natalie will remember long distance swims, Doheny Beach surf lessons and summer swims at Woods Cove for their lifetimes. He took time out with each grandchild for crossword puzzles, barbequing lessons, soccer games, and jokes, and attended every milestone occasion, especially Christmas, with them.

An avid ocean swimmer, Peterson is at rest at two of his favorite places in the Pacific Ocean. Ashes were spread by his wife, her daughters and grandchildren Dec. 26 at the Marin Headlands. Family members shared memories on the bluff overlooking the beach as the sun set. A family friend took a swim in 50 degree water at Muir Beach in his honor.

A memorial and burial at sea in Laguna Beach was held earlier this month by Peterson’s mother, Louise Amyes, her husband Edwin, as well as Peterson’s sister, Carol, with her husband, Rev. Don Kroeger officiating. A reception followed at the home of Peterson’s sister, Doris and her husband Don Stoughton in Corona del Mar.

Peterson was preceded in death by his brother, Nick and father, Robert Wiese. He will be sorely missed.

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