Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Laurence E. Peterson J.D. ’72 was born to Elgin and Dorene Layne Peterson in the farming community of Stirling, Alberta. The youngest of five, he was raised by parents who taught him how to work, love, and serve his family, community, and faith—to his last breath. In his youth he earned his pilot’s license while still a young teenager and was elected H.S. student body president and Canadian team club president. While attending BYU, he worked with many student body organizations, for various local radio stations, and as an announcer for KSL Television on the weekends. He graduated in 1958 with a degree in communications and then worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Calgary, Alberta. Later that year, he married the love of his life, Reta Jean Oler, in the Cardston, Alberta, temple. After two years and two children in tow, he moved his family to North Vancouver, British Columbia, where they expanded the family to a total of four children, and where he later started a catalog clothing and a printing business. In 1969 he courageously immigrated to the U.S. to attend SCU Law School and start a new life and career as a probate and family attorney in San Jose. In 1988, another move took him to the San Diego area, where he practiced law until he retired. He then relocated in 2014 to Pleasant Grove, Utah, where he could be closer to his children and grandchildren. A tireless man in every way, he balanced demanding work and church schedules, while spending time with his children and their extended families. He loved to see his grand and great- grandchildren grow and thrive. He enjoyed sports, family recreation, dancing, and theater. He wrote and directed numerous live musicals and talent shows, including the script and music for the play This Land California in San Diego. He also served on numerous community boards, and as a bishop, stake president, and stake patriarch. But, the greatest example left is a life of selfless love and service shown to his children and his beloved wife. Lawrence passed away on Oct. 5, 2019. His eternal legacy is a growing family tree of four faithful children, 16 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren (with another on the way), along with countless others who have been personally touched and strengthened by his tremendous influence.