Cover photo for Ray Peterson's Obituary
Ray Peterson Profile Photo

Ray Peterson

December 9, 1940 — September 6, 2023

Ray Peterson


 In Loving Memory of Ray Peterson: A Legacy of Education and Compassion

Ray Peterson, a beloved teacher, mentor, coach, and friend, passed away peacefully on September 6, 2023. Born on December 9th, 1940, in Wallace, Idaho, Ray devoted his life to the noble cause of education and community service, leaving an indelible mark on the many lives he touched.

Ray was born in Wallace, a small mining town in Idaho. He was the oldest of three children born to Marvin and Ethel Peterson. His father, Marvin, was an immigrant from Sweden who instilled in Ray a hard work ethic and an eye for detail. In his early years, Ray's family often moved for work opportunities before settling in Spokane Valley. One of these opportunities brought Ray as a one year old to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ray was often heard to tell the story of his dad watching the attack on Pearl Harbor and almost getting hit by stray bullets. 

Ray began his teaching journey in various schools across Washington before settling into a fulfilling 20-year tenure at Central Valley School District in Spokane, Washington. He found his true calling as a math teacher. His dedication to student success made him a central figure not just in the school but also in the wider community.

In addition to his classroom responsibilities, Ray took on the role of a Track and Field, Basketball and Tennis coach during his career. His coaching was as transformative as his teaching; many of his athletes went on to secure college scholarships and some even pursued professional sports careers, attributing their success to his mentorship. Ray was instrumental in spearheading Title IX and promoting female athletes. 

Ray was known for his patient, understanding approach in both the classroom and on the field. He often stayed late to offer additional tutoring or to support his athletes, exemplifying his commitment to the individual growth of his students. His classroom and his sports fields were sanctuaries of hard work, inspiration, and personal development.

Outside the educational setting, Ray was an avid car and airplane enthusiast. His meticulous attention to detail was as evident in his love for automobiles as it was in his teaching and coaching. Whether he was restoring classic cars or staying up-to-date with the latest automotive technologies, Ray found solace and joy in his four-wheeled pursuits.

Ray was a loving husband to his wife, Carol. Together they traveled the world having numerous adventures abroad. Whether visiting family in Sweden or friends in China, Ray brought his warmth and storytelling wherever he went. 

Ray Peterson leaves behind a rich legacy of kindness, wisdom, and an unwavering dedication to serving others. He is survived by his wife, Carol, his sisters, and his nieces and nephews. 

No service is scheduled at this time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Shriners Children's Hospital of Spokane. 

Ray, your spirit and lessons will forever live on in the hearts and minds of all those you've touched. You will be deeply missed.


Rest in peace, Mr. Peterson.

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