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Story of Life
William “ZL” Peterson, 91, passed away to his new glorious, heavenly home on Sunday, December 31, 2023. Born June 1, 1932, in Salisbury, North Carolina a son of Jonas and Agnus (Crowe) Peterson. At an early age his family relocated to Springfield, Ohio.
ZL discovered his gift of working with his hands at an early age. He eventually left Springfield, Ohio to pursue his dream of creating a better life through those very gifted and skilled hands. His journey would take him many places before landing in Seattle, Washington where he was employed. William “ZL” retired from Gordon Brown Associated Inc. after serving in the construction business as a plasterer for over 50 years. The scope of his work spans the city, with many edifices still standing and being enjoyed by the many citizens of Seattle, Washington.
William “ZL” was industrious and competed with only himself to do and be better. Upon retirement, rather than slow down, he sped up– challenging himself by returning to school. He was very serious about his school assignments, as with every other assignment that was given him in life. Gardening quickly became a passion of his post-retirement. Greens, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, garlic beets, squash, radish…you name it and he had it. And if you were a friend of his, you more than likely received the blessings of his bounties. If he wasn’t tending his garden, he could be found in his workshop creating something– custom pieced stained glassworks, custom wood picture frames, or he could be found manicuring his meticulously maintained yard. Regardless of what he touched, he always instilled quality and integrity. And this did not exclude his dress; he could rise to any occasion and in his own words “be as clean as a lean chitlin’. William “ZL” had many passions, talents, and hobbies. He was an avid fisherman, which he and wife, Evelyn enjoyed doing together. “ZL” was a discerning jazz enthusiast and could just spend days listening to his gospel music. Coming from a family tradition of great barbecuers, ZL carried the torch with delicious grilled foods to be enjoyed at the many family events. As a younger ZL, he also delved into how to be a lightweight boxer. William “ZL” did not allow any moss to grow under his feet–he ran his race fully and wholeheartedly. His civic engagements included being a Lifetime Charter Member of the Esquire of Seattle–with which he held a special bond. This kindred ship became his “lifetime brothers.” He also served in the Airborne Trooper Division, Unit 101. William “ZL’ was a family man and inspired many 4ths of July BBQ’s, holiday dinners, birthday parties, fight nights, movie nights, etc. The love of his life, which he always referred to as “Honey Mama” made their home together for over 44 years. Family and friends came to know their home as a gathering place in which you always felt “the love.” William “ZL” excelled at many things, however he was at his greatest, serving as a man of God. William “ZL” purposed his life in growing his walk with the Lord. After joining First A.M.E., his primary determination was to work harder to know and study his bible. He became part of First A.M.E.’s Men’s Prayer Group, which he eagerly looked forward to meeting with every Monday morning.
He leaves to celebrate his life and legacy, his wife of 44 years, Evelyn Peterson; daughters, Dr. Sheri (Luther) Buckley, Sharon (Randy) Hebert, Staci (Ronald) Knight all of Seattle, Washington and Mary Ann Robinson of Springfield, Ohio; stepson, Clifford (Catherine) Marshall of Seattle, Washington, and a host of grandchildren and several nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his son, Zachary Robinson, and siblings, Anna Elliott, Lenora Roseman, Lorena Chambers, Betty Hawthorne, Grady Arnold, William Stant “Sam” Arnold, John Arnold, Revell Bundridge, Garnell Moore, Margaret Arnold, Lillie Jarrett, Walter Peterson, and Katherine Soles.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at the First A.M.E. Church at 1522-14th Avenue, Seattle, Washington. A viewing will be held Wednesday, January 17, 2024 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home, 11111 Aurora Avenue N. Seattle, Washington.