WILLIS — Mr. Emile Frank “Pete” Peterson III passed from this life Thursday morning, October 29, 2020, in Willis, TX while the love of his life, Bettye Green Peterson, was by his side awaiting his passage to eternity.
Born in Galveston, TX on September 25, 1942 to Cynthia Wright Peterson and Emile Frank Peterson Jr, Pete was the oldest brother to Lee Wright Peterson and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in La Marque, Texas. Pete was a product of La Marque public schools and graduated from La Marque High School in 1960, attended Sam Houston State University where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Arts in 1965. While at SHSU, Pete met the love of his life, Bettye Green. Pete fondly remembered his days at SHSU with R.A. “Dick” Chomout and their many adventures around Huntsville. Pete was a veteran of the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard, and was a lover of US History and Military history.
Pete had a variety of employment experiences which included working on the refueling of the NS SAVANNAH in Todd Shipyards, which was the first US nuclear powered merchant ship, and one of only four nuclear powered cargo ships ever built. Pete also was an accomplished petroleum professional, spending numerous years working at Texas City Refining (TCR). He was lucky enough to survive the tragic blast that occurred in 1978. Pete rebranded himself and entered the aerospace industry early in the Shuttle Program, working at ILC Space Systems, Boeing Aerospace, and United Space Alliance. Pete was immensely proud of his work on the shuttle programs and never forgot the missions and astronauts who never returned home. Pete retired in 2010 after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease prevented his further work.
Pete had a love for fishing and hunting. Following in his own father’s footsteps, Pete had a love for the salt water, beach, and the bay. Pete, Lee, and Pete Jr. bought a house in Bay Harbor on West Galveston Island in 1975 when FM 3005 was only 2 lanes and the West End was on the other side of the moon. Pete’s family fondly remembers times at the “Blue House” fishing camp, which included driving on the beach, surf fishing, bay fishing, surfing, and numerous hurricanes. Pete and Bettye dove hunted at the “Salt Cedars” west of Bay Harbor as well. Pete hunted the prairies of El Campo, TX and taught his son, Erik Peterson, to have a respect for wildlife and the outdoors. He was immensely proud of Erik’s career in law enforcement and Bettye’s teaching career that spanned 30+ years at TCISD.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Emile Frank “Pete” Peterson Jr and Cynthia Wright Peterson, and his younger brother, Lee Wright Peterson.
Survivors include his loving wife of 54 years, Bettye Green Peterson of Willis, TX, and son, Erik Emile Peterson and his wife Dena Kay Peterson, and their sons Braden Emile Peterson and Jake Ryan Peterson of Georgetown, TX.
Per his wishes, Pete wanted his ashes scattered in the Gulf of Mexico and West Galveston Bay, wishing one last time to smell the salty air and feel the sand beneath his feet and be one with the warm water of the San Luis Pass and West Galveston Bay. The family will grant this wish in the following months when Spring returns.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the National Parkinson’s Foundation be made in Pete’s name. Pete requested no funeral arrangements or service on his behalf.