The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Henry W. "Hank" Petersen

1929 to 2014


Henry W. "Hank" Petersen

1929 to 2014

Henry W. "Hank" Petersen, 84, passed away Thurs., Jan. 2, 2014 at Rapid City Regional Hospital with his two children by his side.

Henry "Hank" was born on April 10, 1929 in Dalton to Henry and Jennie (Gehrk) Petersen.

Hank's dad was a wheat farmer. The Petersen family survived the great depression era and the dirt storms that plagued the Nebraska plains in the 1930's. Hank often spoke of his parents' struggles in keeping the family farm operating during those hard times. As Hank grew up he lived in Dalton and worked on the farm with his dad. At a young age, Hank began to "tinker" with anything mechanical. Hank's dad could fix nearly anything and he passed those skills on to Hank. The local blacksmith shop fascinated Hank and he and his dad spent many hours there. In later years, he carefully constructed a working diorama of the blacksmith shop from his childhood memories.

Hank held a variety of jobs in addition to farming. He drove a cab for a brief time and worked in a hardware store. In the early 1950's he began his career with the U.S. Government by working at Sioux Army Depot near Sidney in the machine shop. At that time, the Petersen family had relocated to Sidney.

Hank met Twila J. Hoffert of Potter in 1954 and the two married in May of 1956. The two courted on Hank's Harley motorcycle. The couple raised two children: Susan and Steven. The young family lived in Sidney until relocating to Rapid City in 1964 when Hank transferred his career to Ellsworth Air Force Base where he worked in the supply department as an inspector until his retirement in 1984.

Hank, Twila and both children had a great love for the outdoors and spent countless hours picnicking, camping and riding motorcycle trail bikes in the Black Hills.

His hobbies were "tinkering" and being a true "Mr. Fix It." He collected a wide variety of things and built from scratch a large collection of working model steam engines. He also loved clocks and watches and enjoyed repairing them.

He was a charter member of the Midwest Model Builders and always enjoyed displaying his collection at their annual show.

Hank will be fondly remembered as a devoted and loving husband and father. Although he never had grandchildren, he was "Uncle Hank" to an array of nieces and nephews as well as their children. They all remember standing in line to ride with Uncle Hank on his Harley.

Hank was preceded in death by his loving wife of 56 years, Twila, in January of 2013.

Grateful to have shared his life are his children: daughter, Susan "Susi" Petersen, Rapid City and son, Steven (Cynthia) Petersen, Chandler Arizona.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 18, 2013 at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home.

Inurnment will be at the Potter Cemetery in Potter.

His online guestbook is available to sign at


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