Herbert Lee Peterson
Herbert Lee Peterson was born on a small farm in southern Ohio on January 25, 1912 to Ralph Harvey Peterson and Mary Minnie Peterson. For grades one through five he walked a mile and a half to a one-room school house at Mt. Zion, Ohio. For the sixth to the twelfth grades he rode a bus to the small centralized school at Belfast, Ohio. Herbert graduated valedictorian of his class in 1930. Because of a high score on a state-wide physics test, he received a scholarship to Wilmington College in Ohio that paid the tuition of $5 per semester hour.
As a boy, Herbert attended the Mt. Zion Church of Christ with his parents in the church building his father had helped to build. In November of 1923, at the age of twelve, Herbert obeyed the Gospel and was baptized in Brush Creek.
Herbert enrolled at Wilmington College in the fall of 1930. He took two years of pre-engineering while working part time firing furnaces and doing other odd jobs for his room and board. Money was scarce In the thirties. Since he did not have enough to attend engineering school, he borrowed $100 from his uncle, changed his major to education, and earned his elementary school teaching certificate in 1933. He then taught for two years at two of Adams Countyís one-room schools. Herbert continued his education through extension courses and in 1936 graduated from Wilmington College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with emphases on math, physics and industrial arts.
After graduation, Herbert proposed to Doris Marie Bryant. They borrowed a car, drove 110 miles to Grayson, Kentucky, and were married on July 1, 1936; he was 24 years old. Since they did not have much money, they kept their marriage a secret for six months until they were able to get a place of their own.
Doris had workd as a beautician for various shops in Hillsboro and Wilmington, Ohio, but she had always wanted her own beauty shop. Thus, when an apartment became available where they could live and she could have a shop, Herbert made up a sign using their middle names and the 'Lee-Marie Beauty Shop' was in business. It was in this apartment that their son, Larry Lee, was born the following year on August 8, 1937.
Herbert, who now had both elementary and high school certificates, taught at a centralized elementary and secondary school for the next four years. He continued his education by taking summer courses at Ohio State University.
Because he wanted to get some industrial experience, Herbert went to Cincinnati in 1940 and worked for six months at the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company. He also continued his studies in math and metallurgy at the University of Cincinnati. Doris continued with her beauty shop in Hillsboro, 60 miles away. After a while, Herbert got tired of living away from his family and driving back and forth on weekends at 35 miles an hour, so he concluded his endeavor in Cincinnati and went home. Fortunately, a teaching position opened up, and he finished out that year. The next year he found a position as assistant principal in charge of the Vocational Educational National Defense Training School for Machine Shop and Welding.
In 1943, at the age of 31, Herbert applied for a commission in the Navy. Because of his math and physics background, he was given the rank of Lieutenant JG and was assigned to radar training at the Navy Indoctrination School. Later he received further radar training at Princeton, MIT, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He was then selected to teach physics at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, which he continued to do until he was decommissioned from the Navy in June of 1946.
Before he left the Naval Academy he contacted the Naval Research Laboratory and was offered a job as Physicist P2 in the Underwater Acoustics Division (at the other end of the frequency spectrum from radar). He went back home to Hillsboro to consider the offer and finally decided that it was the type of position he wanted. He told Doris he would try it first, and come back home if it did not work out.
The following year (on March 22, 1947) Marcia Jane was born in Hillsboro. The next year, Doris sold her shop and the family joined Herbert in Washington, DC. Their son, Larry, was 11, and Marcia was 1 year old. They lived in the Naylor Gardens apartments for many years until they bought a house in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland.
At the Naval Research Laboratory, Herbertís job went from physicist, to electronic scientist, to electronics engineer. He worked for the Naval Research Laboratory until he retired 30 years later on December 31st, 1973. About the same time he also retired from the Navy Reserves as a Lieutenant Commander with 20 years of service.
Herbert had many opportunities to travel for the government and privately. He visited all fifty States. In 1983, he designed and helped assemble the transmitter for the World Christian Broadcasting station KNLS in Anchor Point, Alaska, which transmited news and religious programming into the Far East. There were also trips to Europe, Russia, Egypt and eight trips to Israel.
After moving to the Washington, DC area, Herbert attended the Southeast Church of Christ, which eventually put up a building at 2600 Minnesota Avenue. In 1960 about 60 members from there started meeting for worship in a school building in Maryland, which eventually became the Oxon Hill Church of Christ. They bought property at 4201 Brinkley Road and put up a structure that Herbert helped to design and build. It was finishing in 1966 with a seating capacity of 608. Herbert was one of the original elders of the Oxon Hill congregation. (Later, part of their membership went farther on down into Maryland and started another congregation, which finally ended up in Waldorf, Maryland.)
While attending the Southeast Church of Christ in Washington DC, Herbert began studying the Bible in depth and taught several classes. Later, at the Oxon Hill congregation, he and Bob Stone taught a two-year course in Old Testament History. Bob prepared most of the questions and Herbert made up the maps and other illustrations. At various times he also taught a class on the Life of Christ.
Three elders, including Herbert, went to the Arlington Church of Christ and took a course in Greek taught by Mike Anglin, using the standard text book by Gresham Machen, Greek for Beginners. Then, in addition to Bible classes, Herbert began teaching a class in Greek to any of the members at Oxon Hill who wanted to study. He also wrote religious pamphlets and a book about the Blood of Christ. He maintained the churchís audio system even into his 90's.
In 1986, his wife Doris suffered a stroke. Herbert and their daughter Marcia lovingly became her care-givers until she passed away on April 9, 1988. She was buried in the Peterson Lot at Belfast, Ohio. Herbert and Doris had been married for more than 50 years.
Seven years later, in 1994, at the age of 82, Herb married Evalyn Abigail Seifert, a long-time friend from the neighborhood of the Naylor Gardens apartments. Evalyn and Herbert enjoyed traveling when health permitted and even took a trip to Israel in 1995. After sharing 10 years of marriage together, Evalyn passed away on February 5, 2005 and was also buried at Belfast, Ohio.
As he grew older, Herbert continued to study and stay up-to-date with current events. After surviving a heart-attack and a stroke when he was older, he began a mall-walking program that continued into his 90's, completing over 3,500 miles. In 2006, at the age of 94, he became the oldest customer at the Waldorf, Maryland Toyota dealer to purchase a Prius hybrid vehicle and enjoyed driving it around town until a few months before his death.
On Thursday evening, October 25, 2007, Herbert Lee Peterson, at the age of 95, left this world to be with the Lord. At the funeral his grandson, Jay Peterson, concluded a biographical sketch with these words: "Herbert was seen by more than a few as being an amazing person in so many ways, having a brilliant mind, a kind heart, and having the attitude of a servant. We are thankful for his 95 years on this earth."