Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Peterson accepts Grand Marshal


Lois E. Johnson

Larry Peterson has accepted the nomination as grand marshal of the Fourth of July parade in Moose Lake.

Peterson has been a member and has volunteered in community organizations for 35 to 40 years, he said in an interview.

Peterson, the son of Minnie and John Peterson, grew up on a farm west of Moose Lake. But he found his future occupation at Moose Lake High School when he took an accounting class from Lee Athey.

"I knew that was what I wanted to do," he said. "I went to college at the Minnesota School of Business and then came back to Moose Lake."

Once back in Moose Lake, Peterson said he assumed he would have to go to the cities to find work.

"I got a call from Allen Anderson," he said. "He asked me to come in and talk. I never did go and get another job."

Peterson said he worked long hours with Allen Anderson at his accounting office. He also studied five nights a week for many weeks during the summer and passed when he took the test to become a Certified Public Accountant.

"I loved accounting," he said. "During tax season, it was seven days a week. I felt like life was passing me by. Everyone else was out bowling and golfing."

One of the accounts Peterson worked on was for the First National Bank.

"I became aware of an opportunity with the bank," he said. "Banks in those days were pretty informal. They needed more written policies and they needed succession planning.

"It took me a long time to make that phone call but one day I called and Bud Kirk (bank president) said that he had thought of me too."

"I came into the bank gradually," he said. "I started with two days a week and increased it to four days a week. Tax season was in those six months that it took for the process to be complete.

"That was a big turning point in my life. To this day I thank both Bud and Walt Lower, who was vice president of the board, for the opportunity."

Peterson started in September 1987 as assistant vice president. The bank had just moved into its new building.

Peterson had the opportunity to invest in the bank when someone was going to leave the board and asked if he would like to buy his shares.

"Bud retired on May 31, 1987, and I moved into the president's position," he said. "I still hold that position. I have been at the bank for 34 years."

Meanwhile, Peterson was involved in many community organizations.

"I was a member of the Jaycees," he said. "We had the Haunted House each fall and were tired of moving it every year. We built the building down by the campground. The city owns it now."

"I have been a member of the chamber since the 1970s. I have been the president and the treasurer. When you are a CPA and banker in town, you are treasurer of everything. You automatically get those jobs.

"I have also been involved in Kiwanis Club for 35 or 40 years. And I served on the Mercy Hospital board for 16 years, most of them as chairman.

"I also served a couple of terms on the Moose Lake Golf Club board."

Peterson became interested in flying and earned his pilot's license in 1983. He joined the Lake Air Flying Club at the Moose Lake airport and is now one of three club members still living, he said.

"We started Aviation Days and it is still going today," he said. "Now it is known as the Fly-in, Drive-in Pancake Breakfast. When our members couldn't handle it anymore, I recruited the Kiwanis Club to make the breakfast. This was the 25th year.

"I also served on the county's airport commission for two terms."

Peterson also spoke about a trying time for the community back in the late 1980s and 1990s.

"The Moose Lake Coalition of Concerned Citizens for the Moose Lake State Hospital started up when it was planned for the state hospital to close," he said. "I became treasurer for the PAC (political action committee). We were pretty active with fundraising.

"I started making trips to St. Paul with Jon Brown, Dick Buro and Mayor Clayton Hartman. We were down there a lot. I developed a good relationship with John Riley, Governor Arne Carlson's chief of staff. Now the road to the MSOP is named after Riley.

"It was a huge undertaking but it came out with a good decision."

Peterson said he has also had the honors of serving on the boards of three professional organizations: the Minnesota Association of Public Accountants in the 1970s, the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota, and the Bank Holding Company Association, with five of those years as treasurer.

As he looks back on his life, career and community involvement in Moose Lake, Peterson said: "I think that community service is innate in us. For me, I came back to the community that I grew up in. I had been given all of these opportunities by mentors. I want to see Moose Lake as a thriving community for a long time. I have a special place in my heart to help make Moose Lake be successful."


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