The passing of a southern Utah legend
Rotarian Steven Howard Peterson was the1983 President of the St.George Rotary Club. He passed away on January 21, 2022, at the age of 78, after a lengthy illness. He is survived by his wife Sylvia, 8 children, 29 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, a sister and brother,
Steve married his high school sweetheart, Sylvia Staples, while attending Snow College on a Leadership and Baseball Scholarship. Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Distributive Education from Utah State in 1965. His first teaching job was at Parowan High, then Cedar City High, next as a business teacher at Sevier Valley Tech in Richfield, and then Business Administrator for Sevier School District.
Steve served 4 years as Superintendent of Piute School District. He returned to graduate school at USU and received an Education Doctorate Degree in Administration in June 1972 His next move was to Gila Bend, AZ in 1975 to be Superintendent of Schools.
In 1977 Steve returned to Utah, as Director of Area Vocational Programs for Dixie College and Washington County S.D. Next as Assistant Superintendent in 1979 & Superintendent of Washington County Schools from 1984-1996. Growth in Dixie exploded and under his leadership, several new schools were built. After leaving Washington District, Steve spent one year in Littlefield, AZ. as Principal/Superintendent, where he wrote a $3,000,000 grant, to fund a new New Elementary School.
In 1993, Steve was named Utah’s Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Peterson accepted the position of Executive Director of the Utah School Superintendents Association (USSA) and Deputy Executive Director for the Utah School Boards Association (USBA) from 1997- 2003. He took a leave of absence to serve mission with his wife in Moscow, Russia, as Eastern European Area Executive Secretary. After 18 months he returned to his position at USSA and served from 2005-2010.
After serving 45 years in Public Education Steve retired and they built a home where they planned to spend the rest of their lives. They were very excited to return to the Sevier County area where they both grew up so they could reunite with friends and family. Steve loved the outdoors, especially gardening, fishing, and hunting. Over time, Steve’s health declined to the point where they sold their home and returned to St. George to be closer to children and medical services.
Steve overcame much adversity in his life, more than most ever knew. He loved life and he lived life to the fullest. His example encouraged all to be better, to do better. Steve tarried a bit longer to help the rest of us along our mortal journey. He was one of the very best.
Funeral services were held Friday, January 28, 2022 in Bloomington.
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