William David Peterson

April 16, 1959 ~ November 30, 2021 (age 62)


William David Peterson

Date of Birth: 4/16/1959

Date of Death: 11/30/2021

           William David “Bill” Peterson, 62, of Anaconda, died on November 30th at Community Medical Center in Missoula. At the time of his birth on April 16, 1959, a sign on the front lawn of the family home joyfully proclaimed, “It’s a boy!” as little “Billy” joined his three older sisters, becoming the fourth child of Robert Charles and Nancy Jane (McConahay) Peterson.  He grew into a tow-headed boy with a wide grin and a sparkle in his eyes, a sweet little brother who charmed everyone he met. Bill and his family moved to Anaconda in 1964, where he attended local schools. While in his first year of college at Boise State University, Bill experienced the initial onset of schizophrenia, a severe and disabling mental illness, which affected him his entire life. Bill lived independently and managed his own affairs, despite his mental illness. In fact, Bill cherished his independence and never wished to be a burden to anyone.

            Bill will be fondly remembered as a kind and gentle person, a loving son, uncle, and brother, and a generous and loyal friend. He was a quiet soul who loved cats and was the proud owner of Boris, a giant grey tabby cat, followed by Kimberly Annie, a beautiful calico. Bill’s heart was broken last March when his little Kimberly died. Bill enjoyed attending family meals and get-togethers, watching football, and listening to music, mostly hard rock. He taught himself to play the guitar and harmonica. He had an amazing memory for music and was the person to call if you wanted to know the name of a group, who played a particular song, or the names of all the members of a 70s rock band. He had a subtle, dry sense of humor, which would often surprise and delight those around him. Like other members of his family, Bill appreciated the 1998 film, The Big Lebowski, and never seemed to mind when others compared him to the film’s protagonist, The Dude. Bill’s accepting, calm demeanor earned him that nickname. Now, “The Dude abides,” and will do so in the hearts and memories of those who loved him.

           Bill was preceded in death by his father, Robert Peterson, his mother, Nancy Bailey, his stepfather, Jerald Bailey, and his sister, Jessie Jacobson. He is survived by his sisters, Laura (Neal) Straus of Dillon, and Polly Peterson (Gary Shelton) of Anaconda, his brother-in-law, Robert Jacobson, his nephews, Jeffrey Bailey, Benjamin Straus, Zachary Straus, and Alexander Straus, and his nieces, Emma Peterson and Josephine Peterson. Bill was much loved and will be greatly missed. Arrangements for a private family memorial are pending.

            Donations may be made in Bill’s memory to Pintler Pets, the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or to any organization supporting mental health and fighting the stigma of mental illness.

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