Rufus Peterson, 65, Was Veteran and Avid Golfer
Rufus Franklin (Butch) Peterson of Oak Bluffs died peacefully on Jan. 22. He was predeceased by his parents, Rufus M. and Edythe Peterson Harrison. His grandparents were Benjamin and Anna Crosby and Eliza Peterson.
Butch was born March 16, 1937, in Hartford, Conn., and was graduated from Bulkeley High School before attending the University of Hartford. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served eight years in many overseas assignments. After his honorable discharge, he joined the U.S. Dept. of Defense. He also worked for the Hartford Civic Center and the Metropolitan District Commission.
After moving to the Vineyard, he joined the staff of the Steamship Authority. His love for the sea and ships led to enjoying his job and his other SSA team members. He loved helping Island visitors and natives who needed assistance or information. He really enjoyed most people and avoided the disagreeable few.
His favorite place to enjoy friends was Waban Park, where he gave golf lessons to beginners and advanced students. He also liked to sit on the porches of friends to discuss current events or the good old days.
He was proud of his recovery from the dread disease of alcoholism. He continued to assist others in recovery while serving as a friend. He celebrated his recovery lifestyle every day.
His consuming joy in life was golf. Becoming a caddy at age 12, he learned from great players including Gardner Dickinson, a student of the great Ben Hogan. Butch was the Connecticut high school champion at age 16. He was also a finalist for the state junior amateur title with champion Dick Siderowf. He continued to play and collected many trophies. His most recent victory was at a scholarship tournament at Mink Meadows Golf Club in October 2002.
Rufus is survived by a sister, Anne Jennings; a brother, Gerard Peterson; brothers and sisters in law Raoul and Karen Peterson and Manning and Marva Peterson, and nieces and nephews including Megan, Amber, Kim, Roxanne, Brian, Bradford, Raoul, Michael, Faye, Marcus, Patricia, Kirk, Janet, James, Randall, Eric, Evan, Raven and Anthony. He was predeceased by Anthony's brother, Michael.
He will be remembered by a host of friends including Jim McLaurin, Della Hardman, Mandred Henry, Carole Peterson, Norman Jennings, Tommy Mello, Bill O'Rourke, Margaret Young, Ken Walker, Bridget Tobin, Ray deBettencourt, Roger Armstrong and Ozzie Harrison.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.
During the past year, Rufus battled cancer with the compassionate help of Massachusetts General and Martha's Vineyard Hospital, with assistance from Hospice including the wonderful nurse Juleann Van Belle and other volunteers, the Visiting Nurse Service, home health aides and Angel Flights.
Butches family and friends attended to his needs while providing health care and comfort. The Rev. Roger Spinney's many visits lifted his spirits.
A memorial service will be held Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church on Spring street in Vineyard Haven. Arrangements are by the Dyer-Lake Funeral Home in North Attleboro.