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Timothy James Petersen, 76

| June 11, 2024 1:00 AM

Timothy James Petersen

Nov. 16, 1947 – May 4, 2024

Timothy James Petersen passed away peacefully in his home in the early hours of May 4, 2024. He was surrounded by love and family, as he was every day of his life.

Tim’s always practical, positive and steady nature extended to the way he approached his battle with brain cancer. Diagnosed with glioblastoma in March of 2019, he defied all odds to earn five more hard-fought but wonderful years. 

Born to Lorette and Maynard Petersen and raised in Carmel, Calif., Tim was the youngest of four. He attended junior college before transferring to UC Davis where he met his loving wife of 53 years, Margaret (Baker) Petersen. They were married in Mountain View, Calif., on Aug. 22, 1970.

Though Tim didn’t particularly enjoy school in his younger years, he exemplified hard work and dedication, earning a PhD in mechanical engineering. After graduating, Tim and Margaret moved to Seattle where they made a home in the Mount Baker neighborhood and Tim began his long accomplished career at Boeing. Tim retired from Boeing as director, Systems Product Development, Commercial Airplanes, at the end of 2006.

In 1981, Tim and Margaret welcomed their first son Ben, followed in 1983 by John. In May of 1986, they completed their family, adopting their baby girl, Emily. Tim loved his family and friends deeply and regularly showed love through his actions, often in the form of projects. His handiness was unmatched and there was never a shortage of school or house projects he was willing to take on for Margaret or his kids.

In 1988, the family began the sacred tradition of camping and vacationing at Ross Lake in the North Cascades. Yet another place where Tim’s handiness and resourceful camping improvisations were put to good use. Tim regularly referred to Ross Lake as the “happy place” he would mentally escape to while enduring long MRIs and radiation treatments. Ross Lake is the site of a million special memories with family and friends and will forever be one of his final resting places. 

After retiring in 2006, Tim and Margaret enjoyed many trips together and with friends. Their travels took them to many places including Guatemala (on Epiphany Parish service trips), the Southwestern U.S., Costa Rica, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Italy, England, the Galapagos and even Antarctica — where they both jumped into the Antarctic Ocean not once but twice. 

In 2010, Tim and Margaret moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, where they built their dream home. Tim was quick to become involved in his new community, as a dedicated volunteer and eventually becoming treasurer for the local Habitat for Humanity. Their first decade in Sandpoint was filled with hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, boating, kayaking and connecting with friends old and new. During that time, Tim and Margaret also became grandparents to Oscar (in 2015) and Marnie (in 2018). G-pa, as he became known, took to his role naturally and was adored by his grandchildren. 

Tim lived a life filled with purpose and love, always willing to offer support to others in any way he could. He was accepting, caring, generous and kind. He had a welcoming warmth that put people at ease, and a dry sense of humor that would sneak up on you and leave you laughing. 

He set amazing examples in the way he lived and even in the way he died. He never complained about the hand he was dealt but focused on living the best life he could in the time he had left. 

Tim is survived by his wife, Margaret, son Ben (Julie Wahlstrand), son John (Kelley Petersen), daughter Emily, grandson Oscar, granddaughter Marnie, sister Pam Smith, brother Maynard Petersen Jr. (Kathleen O ‘Connor), several nieces and nephews, loving in-laws, and many lifelong friends. 

A gathering of Tim's friends, neighbors and family will be held at the Petersen home (on Granite Ridge Dr, Sandpoint) at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, 2024.