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Chief Petty Officer Phillip Leroy Petersen, U.S Navy retired, age 75,    passed away Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 at Spectrum Health-United Hospital in Greenville.  The son of Clifford Leroy & Hannah J. (Mills) Petersen, he was born on September 17, 1939 in Greenville and following high school he proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy and was a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War.

Phil's naval career spanned 20 years, beginning as a mess cook and eventually earning  the rank of Chief Petty Officer.  For much of his career he served with the SeaBees (U.S. Naval Construction Battalion) where he fought at DaNang and was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze battle stars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, as well as numerous Good Conduct Awards and citations and commendations.  While stationed in Vietnam, Phil completed Vietnamese Language School and he and his unit were awarded the Gallantry Cross by the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in recognition of deeds of valor or heroism while in combat with the enemy.  He was also stationed at the American Embassy in Bucharest, Romania during the Cold War. 

After retiring from the Navy, Phil worked several other jobs, including at the former Electrolux Home Products and as a school janitor.  An avid outdoorsman, Phil enjoyed hunting, fishing, mushrooming, and was even a national amateur champion walleye fisherman.  He loved watching all the old western and cowboy shows and movies he missed while he was deployed and had been a member of the Ray I. Booth American Legion Post 101, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans.

He was preceded in death by his parents;  a son, Mark Petersen;  and two sisters, Barbara Large and Diane Harnish.  Surviving are six sisters and brothers, Mary & Jay Ruthruff of Barryton, Joyce & Ike Hilton of Florida, Gary Petersen of Lakeview, Bonnie & Gordon Wheeler of Oklahoma, David & Robin Petersen of Six lakes, and Kim & Teresa Petersen of Greenville;  several nieces and nephews;  and many cousins. 

The family will receive relatives and friends from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at the Ray I. Booth American Legion Post 101, 1320 W. Washington Street, Greenville, where full military honors will be rendered at 1:30 p.m., with a time of food and fellowship immediately following.  Honoring his wishes, cremation has taken place. 

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Phil's online guest book, or to share a  favorite memory, please visit:  Arrangements are entrusted to Christiansen Cremation & Funeral Care, honored providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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29 Condolences

  1. Donna Jensen on August 28, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Tony, I am sorry, I wanted to tell you Phil told me he asked JC into his heart and was talking to the Big Man a lot before his surgery. He was who he was to the end and didn’t give up the fight easy.

  2. Robert Solomon BUC(SCW/PJ) Ret. on August 30, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Rest easy, brother. We have the watch.
    Seabees Can Do!!!

  3. Luci on October 2, 2015 at 12:00 am

    We made alot of memories. I will always remember our marriage and the things we shared. You taught me so much about hunting, bowling, fishing, shooting pool and etc. We did so many things together. We sure cut and hauled alot of wood every weekend but when the whole family worked together it was fun. Thanks for the many memories babe. They will always be ours. I won’t forget.

  4. Stephanie Hutchinson on November 1, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of Phil. He was definitely a character! We lived in an apartment upstairs from Phil and he became a good friend to my husband, daughter and me. I looked him up on Google because we hadn’t seen or heard from him in a long time. Now I know why.

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