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Obituary: LaMar Petersen

LaMar Petersen 12/23/10 ~ 9/16/05 LaMar Petersen, beloved husband, father, grandfather, teacher and friend, passed away September 16, 2005, at his home in Salt Lake City. Born December 23, 1910, in Ogden, Utah, to Adam L. and Anna M. Petersen, the last of nine children, LaMar spent his early youth in Huntsville and Eden, where his mother was postmistress and his father was proprietor of a mercantile. They sometimes received mail addressed, simply, "Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden." At age 7, LaMar's sister Vivian began giving him piano lessons, which was to influence the rest of his life. When LaMar was 8, the family moved to Salt Lake City, where he was a student at Wasatch Elementary and LDS High School. As a teenager, LaMar earned money for college as a theater organist for silent films shown at the Tower Theatre. He was then able to continue his musical training at the McCune School of Music and Art, studying piano and organ under Tracy Y. Cannon, Alexander Schreiner, and Frank W. Asper. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in 1932, and was awarded a scholarship to study at the Guilmont Organ School in New York. He later transferred to the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with noted organist Gaston M. Dethier. In 1935, LaMar became the organist at the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in Salt Lake, where he remained for the next 65 years. Although not a Christian Scientist, he enjoyed the many long-lasting friendships he made there. He also taught at the University of Utah's applied music division. On June 7, 1937, LaMar married Faye Glover of Midvale. They made their home on Fourth Avenue in Salt Lake and eventually had six children. In 1945, LaMar, with a group of musician friends, founded the Mozart School of Music, which he directed for 35 years. Located on Main Street above the Daynes Music Co., with a full-time faculty of 10, the school offered courses in piano, voice, violin, and speech. After 25 years, the school moved to the Atlas Building on 2nd South. When the building was scheduled for demolition, LaMar began teaching privately at his new home in Holladay. LaMar taught for 70 years, beginning at age 15 and retiring at age 85. He has inspired and mentored hundreds of piano and organ students in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West. LaMar was also an avid and accomplished historian, researching and writing about Utah history and the LDS Church. He was a member of the Advisory Board of Editors for the Utah Historical Quarterly for 18 years, and was an honorary life member of the Utah State Historical Society. He was also a founding member of the Utah Chapter of the World Federalists (since renamed Citizens for Global Solutions). A lifelong Democrat, LaMar was respected and admired for his humanity, his charity, and his concern for the welfare of others. He had an infectious sense of humor, and was loyal and faithful to his many friends, some of whom he made while working as a young man in Yellowstone National Park. His friendships have lasted a lifetime. LaMar outlived all of his eight siblings: Eva (Hardy), Ollie (Graham), Ruth (his beloved "Tudo"), Vivian (Hoyt), Brian, Dewey, Golden and Eugene. LaMar is survived by his wife, Faye; children Tracy (Linda Smith), Calvin (Sharon Christensen), Linda Marion, Becky Canning (Curtis), Brian (Linda Johnson), and Dana (Judy Mason); and grandchildren Michelle, Christopher and Peter (Canning), Dane, Britt, Anna, Devin and Mason. The family expresses its sincere appreciation to Caresource and caregivers Rosa, Simone, Harold and others for taking such good care of LaMar during his last days. The celebration of LaMar Petersen's life will be held at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park & Mortuary, 3401 Highland Drive, in Salt Lake City, on Saturday, September 24, at 2:00 p.m. Friends may call an hour before the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Citizens for Global Solutions, the University of Utah Dept. of Music, or the Yellowstone Park Foundation.