Vernon Lynn "Ben" Peterson, age 84, of Joplin, Mo., passed away Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at the residence of his eldest son, surrounded by his loving children.
Ben was born on September 4, 1932, in Persia, Iowa, the son of Charles Lebel and Winnefred (Sweet) Peterson.
He proudly served his country as part of the U.S. Army during the Korean War. While stationed in San Antonio, Texas, he discovered his love for the Spanish language.
Following his service, Ben returned home and attended the University of Omaha where he received his bachelor's degree. To continue his education, he also attended the University of Texas, in Austin, Pan-American University, in Edinburg, Texas, Graceland University, in Lamoni, Iowa. He received his master's and PhD from the University of Iowa. Ben was a Professor of Languages at Missouri Southern State University for many years before retiring in 1997. Ben shared his passion for languages with his students. He was active at Missouri Southern; an avid supporter of Lions athletics.
During his career, he translated multiple texts and hymns for the Community of Christ World Church, published two books, and demonstrated his love of language in the many poems he penned. He was an active member of Community of Christ and has been an ordained minister since the age of 17. He never met a stranger; he enjoyed meeting new people. Ben was also a full-time missionary in Wesleco, Texas, and Mexico City, Mexico, where he was very successful bringing souls to Jesus Christ.
He married Patricia Turpen and five children were born of that union: Benjamin Peterson and wife, Emily, of Joplin, Suzy Harkins and husband, Kevin, of Bonner Springs, Kan., Elizabeth Peterson, of Joplin, David Peterson and wife, Leah, of Diamond, Mo., Bob Peterson, of Minneapolis, Minn., all survive.
Ben then married Margo Irvine Siler on August 5, 1983. She survives.
Additional survivors include four step-children, Mark Siler and David Siler, both of Joplin, Beth Spangler, of Lafayette, Colo., Michele Keys, of Texarkana, Ark.; 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Ben was preceded in death by his parents and by three brothers, Don Peterson, Kip Peterson and Ronald Peterson.
Funeral services have been scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, August 26, at the Community of Christ Church, 1212 Gates Boulevard, Joplin. The family will receive friends during a time of visitation following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Community of Christ Youth Program, in care of the mortuary.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory.
Published on August 23, 2017