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Elmer P. Petersen Obituary – Sculptor

Local Artist, Elmer P. Petersen, 91, of Galesville passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse. He was born in Racine, WI. on September 4, 1928 to Nels and Lily (Anderson) Petersen. On January 27, 1968 Elmer married Carole Mortvedt and she preceded him in death on March 18, 2001.

Elmer is survived by a son, Christian (Sheila Mueller), Petersen of Dubuque, IA; daughter, Tianna (Perry Mason) Petersen of Dallas, TX; sister, Eloise (Lowell) Yena of Augusta, WI.; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Doris (Bill) Hanson and Vernetta (Kenneth) Ness; and three brothers, Milton (Becky) Petersen, Marvin (Adeline) Petersen, and Donald (Rigmor) Petersen.

He served in the U.S. Army receiving the Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars and the United Nations Service Medal, being honorably discharged in May of 1953. He was an Assistant Professor of Art and taught at several colleges throughout his life from 1958 to 1978, including Jamestown College, where he sculpted in 1959 the World’s Largest Buffalo, and then taught at State College, Bemidji, MN, Dana College, Wittenberg University and his final Faculty appointment was at Texas Lutheran College (now Texas Lutheran University) before moving to La Crosse area.

Several sculptures around the La Crosse area include: Gambrinus “King of Beer”, The Lacrosse Players, The Good Shepherd, Family, Small Boy, Eagle Landmark at Riverside Park, Eagle II at UW – La Crosse, The Visionary (Galesville, WI), Gideon Hixon, George Gale (Galesville, WI), Symphonic Joy, George Coleman Poage, and multiple other small bronzes.

A memorial visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 14, 2020 at Dickinson Family Funeral Home, 401 Main Street, Onalaska. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, please remember to wear a mask and observe social distancing recommendations if you plan on attending the Friday visitation. Burial will be at Stordahl Cemetery, Dell Rapids, SD at a later date.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to Stordahl Cemetery Association, C/O Beth Nelson, 2716 E. 52nd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57103; or be given to the family to be allocated for Elmer’s wishes.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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