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Elder Andrew Wayne Peterson dies at 56

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A. Wayne Peterson

A. Wayne Peterson

Elder Andrew Wayne Peterson, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003.

His death was confirmed by LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills, who said funeral services are pending.

Elder Peterson, who was 56, suffered paralyzing injuries in a 1997 motorcycle accident near a family cabin in Parleys Canyon.

Still, he managed to recover enough to attend some sessions of the October 1998 general conference and received emeritus status the following year.

At the time of the accident, Elder Peterson was president of the church's Mexico North Area and had traveled to Salt Lake City for general conference.

Prior to being sustained to the Seventy on Oct. 1, 1994, he was a stake president, mission president and bishop's counselor.

Elder Peterson was born June 8, 1947, in San Francisco, the eldest of six children of Wayne Leo and Virginia Parker Peterson.

When his father completed dental school in San Francisco, the family moved to Payson for two years, then to Salt Lake City when Elder Peterson was 5.

Elder Peterson grew up in the same ward as his wife, the former Christine Swensen. They dated until he left to serve in the North Argentine Mission. They were married June 20, 1969, in the Salt Lake Temple. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah in 1970 and a doctorate of dental surgery in 1974 from the University of the Pacific Dental School. Elder Peterson had practiced dentistry in Salt Lake City for 20 years before his call to the Seventy.

Elder Peterson's service also included volunteer work with the Boy Scouts, the Utah-Bolivia Partners, the Community Services Council and the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center. He received Scouting's Silver Beaver. He had served as Silver Moccasin junior leader trainer for Scouting's Great Salt Lake Council.

Before being called as a general authority, Elder Peterson spent 10 days each summer for four consecutive summers teaching leadership principles to Scouts at an East Fork of the Bear River Scout Camp

While on his mission, Elder Peterson had the opportunity as an assistant to the mission president to visit southern Bolivia and came to love the people of that country.

He and his wife continued their service to Bolivia until Elder Peterson was called as president of the Mexico Merida Mission in 1981. When the Petersons returned to Salt Lake City in 1984 they became involved in the Community Services Council, which led to an invitation to serve as chairman of the advisory board of the Bennion Community Service Center at the University of Utah.

In the LDS Church, Elder Peterson was regional representative to the Millcreek and Coalville regions, a Primary teacher in the Monument Park 2nd Ward, a counselor and later president of Salt Lake University 3rd Stake and counselor in the Monument Park 1st Ward bishopric. Before his call as president of the Mexico North Area, he was second and first counselor in that same area presidency.

The Petersons had three sons and five daughters.