“The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."
A typical day in the life of Ryan Peterson:
Meet for pickleball with buddies. Snow blow his driveway and quite possibly one or more neighbors. Feed the dogs and take them for a walk while either playing Sudoku or listening to a podcast on gardening or both. Read emails, review attached pdf spreadsheets and term sheets, opine with counteroffers and ideas and request clarifications. Make ebelskivers for breakfast served with raspberry preserves he grew and picked. Drive girls carpool to school, visit with the school Principal, the school of which he is the head of the Renovation Committee, drop a load off at Deseret Industries while just making a 9:30 a.m. meeting at work.
From there, he would take care of a number of tasks-some mundane, some substantive- on his computer with 12 windows open, while on his cell phone on a call with another call on his desktop holding for customer service. All while playing Sudoku on a tablet and filling out 3 NCAA brackets before the deadline. Then off to a lunch with a long, lost friend, back to the office for a conference call, one in-house meeting before rushing to Skylar’s State track meet, then speeding to Emma’s soccer match in Draper, and narrowly slipping in the door just before Cate’s dance recital. He found time somewhere in there to grab a Pretty Bird sandwich. All finished by a late-night indoor soccer game out-playing 20-year olds.
Ryan Burton Peterson, born April 28th, 1972, died April 17, 2023.
Ryan died tragically and unexpectedly while clearing the snow from the roof of a family cabin on the Brighton loop. Doing just one more thing on his daily list.
Ryan was born in Bountiful, Utah to Leon and Karen Fotheringham Peterson.
Ryan was lucky enough to grow up at the Indian Springs "Compound," an idyllic retreat in the Bountiful foothills which the Peterson, Garff and Robinson families conceived and made a reality. Ryan's best friends in the formative toddler years were Anissa and Melissa, two little girls that imprinted on him at an early age a sensitivity he carried with him his whole life.
Ryan's horizon and friend group expanded with a move to the Oak Hills area of Salt Lake City where his journey continued as he found mentors in the form of neighbors, Scout leaders and new friends.
Ryan's father Leon, a kindred "wrong-arm," or left-hander, was his greatest influence and role model. Early on, Leon installed a basketball hoop in the basement of the home. Around the same time, he had a 5' chalkboard hung in the family room. Hours were spent on both, showing no favoritism for athletics over academics or vice-versa. Ryan's education continued astride the armrest set between the two front seats of his dad's brown Mercedes doing mathematical gymnastics, having spelling contests and learning the family songs. Ryan's parents would mix in an annual trip to see the world--be it South America, Europe or Asia--Leon and Karen laid a foundation for Ryan's love of learning.
Ryan's formal education continued at Carden Memorial, a school that stayed near and dear to his heart and his family's heart. Ryan continued his education at Clayton Jr, East High, the University of Utah, the Sigma Chi Fraternity and finally MIT where he obtained a Masters in Real Estate Development. Through it all and along the journey, Ryan committed himself to self-improvement. He was always sharpening the saw.
Ryan loved to compete! Against others, but more against himself. He was always up for another game, match or adventure. At the drop of a hat, Ryan could, would and did go climb the Grand Teton, oar the Middle Fork of the Salmon and motorcycle the Baja Peninsula. And though he wasn't an alpinist or a river guide, and never even owned a dirt bike, he had the amazing ability to pull these feats off and look kinda good doing it.
One of his daughters asked him for a few book recommendations just last week. He walked her around his office and gave her a stack of titles including War and Peace, The Remains of the Day and A World Lit Only By Fire. Ryan came from the Trivial Pursuit generation and he supped at the Jeopardy feast every night before dinner. Dizzying is the amount of minutiae, incidentals and flat-out knowledge Ryan had contained in his head. There also existed quite a bit of useless MASH trivia as well.
But all of this was a fraction of who the man was.
Ryan was not exempt from walking the "awkward road of adolescence" in his youth--the same one we all traveled--but with each milestone passed, Ryan bettered himself. Many remember him as shy in his youth. He gradually turned that weakness into a strength, replacing quiet with quiet confidence, and from being underestimated into rarely being overlooked.
Ryan valued his friends. He repaid them their friendship with his version of the same, but with emphasis on loyalty, thoughtfulness and above all else, his time.
Ryan managed his time as if he knew his own time was limited. His priorities were faith, family and work, in that order.
Ryan married his first love, Jennifer Thompson. They shared two beautiful children, Ellie and Skylar. After Jennifer’s premature passing, Ryan rose to the occasion and lovingly cared for Sky and Ellie. The day Ryan met Coco Warner, two broken hearts were mended. With his two children and her three, they brought their families together and added two more of their own. With an unmatched amount of effort and love, they created their fairy tale of a life together as a party of nine.
Professionally, Ryan learned at the feet of his father Leon. His decision to work at Peterson Development and the contributions he has made there, and at Peterson Homes will echo for generations. Ryan was blessed with a keen intellect, one that when coupled with his business acumen, made contributions daily to the firm's function and profitability. More than that however, Ryan carried on the legacy of integrity and honesty that were hallmarks of the family business from its inception.
Ryan did not wear his religion on his sleeve, nor was he ashamed of it. It was serving the people of the Netherlands for two years where he galvanized his own faith. He chose to serve quietly, discreetly. If someone needed help, he preferred to operate in the shadows, behind the scenes. His faith was profound and the life he lived was an extension of it.
Perhaps Ryan's greatest gift he shared with people was simply his time. If he wished anything it might be that we would reach out to an old friend or set aside a moment with a child or a family member and just give them your time.
With Mia, Ryan found time to teach and play tennis.
With Tessa, Ryan answered her philosophical questions on life.
With Ellie, Ryan played soccer and went out to eat.
With Jack, Ryan played chess.
With Sky, Ryan cooked and cheered on our Utes and Sky's 49'ers.
With Emma, Ryan cheered, traveled, and played soccer, developing a mutual love of the game.
With Cate, Ryan loved watching her dance beautifully and passionately.
He will be missed. On many fronts, by many friends and family and for many years to come.
Ryan is survived by his mother Karen Fotheringham Peterson, his wife Coco Warner Peterson, his seven children, Mia Rose and Braden Miller, Tessa Mikael and Tyler Brown, Ellie Brooke Peterson, Jack Warner Nebeker (serving in the Mexico Puebla Mission) Skylar Ryan Peterson (called to the El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission), Emma Hadley Peterson and Cate Everett Peterson and two four-legged friends, Ned and Red. Ryan's surviving siblings include Brandon and Katie Peterson, Justin and Libby Peterson, Barrett and Alli Peterson and Ashley and Clay Beck as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A visitation will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Sunday, April 23, 2023 at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. Funeral services will be at 10:00 am on Monday, April 24th at the Holladay 14th Ward, 4917 S. Viewmont Street, Holladay, Utah. Interment will follow at Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery. For those unable to attend, services will be streamed via Zoom: Please click on the watch services link above, you must be logged in to your Zoom account to view.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the Carden Memorial Foundation in memory of Ryan Peterson. Checks are payable to Carden Memorial Foundation. 1452 East 2700 South, Salt Lake City, UT. 84106. Venmo account: Carden Memorial Foundation
Karen as well as CoCo and all the family, Such a a
sad and terrible accident resulting with the loss of Ryan . I read his obituary, he was an outstanding member of the Peterson family. I feel such sadness for all of you at this time. Family, Friends and Community will mourn his passing. Heartache and grieving will be difficult for you Karen and all the family, I will keep you in my prayers. I can't even imagine what you all must be going thru. I offer my condolences with a sincere heart and hope healing and comfort take place as you try to move on with your lives. Kathy and Jan extend their condolences also.
It's been a week since hearing of Ryan's passing, and I am still in shock. What a tremendous individual, friend, son, brother, husband, father, taken far too soon. I am devastated for Coco and their children. The analogy I keep coming back to and have shared with others is that life is like a little league baseball game with a 10-run rule; once someone has lived enough to fill up 10 lives, the game is over. To me, that describes Pie to a tee. As we have gathered with family and friends over the past week to mourn and share experiences, I have been genuinely struck by Ryan's influence for good on so many. He was a true renaissance man and -- even better -- disciple of Christ. I am honored to have known him in life and feel compelled to emulate him moving forward not only to better myself but to keep his memory and influence alive for years and years to come. I will miss you, Pie. Thank you for being you. As I struggle to understand and cope with what has happened and our collective loss, it is the promise of the Atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ that provides peace and healing to me hopefully to others, especially Coco and family. We love you. Until we meet again, Pie.
To Karen and Family,
It is with the greatest shock and deepest sorrow that I send condolences in the passing of Ryan--Elder Peterson to me. My late husband, Hank, and I served with him as his mission leaders in the Netherlands from 1991-94. Elder Peterson served with honor, integrity, and faith. He was loved by other missionaries and the Dutch people and did a wonderful work among them. I have since followed him through our returned missionary organization and also our son, Greg, who lives in your stake and speaks highly of him. Ryan devoted himself to all that matters most--his faith in the Lord and his family. As sad as it is, I found reading his especially beautifully written obituary to be an edifying experience. Thank you for enriching my day. May the sweet peace of the Comforter be your abiding blessing and may your eternal perspective through the gospel of Jesus Christ sustain you and his family. With love, Daryl