Obituary: Robert Peterson

NORTHBROOK, IL (April 24, 2018) – Retired Covenant missionary Robert Peterson, who served in Congo for nearly 40 years, died Sunday. He was 92.

Bob was born on December 21, 1925, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned an associate’s degree from Grand Rapids Junior College, a bachelor of arts from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; and graduated from North Park Theological Seminary.

He married Ruth Ann Peterson on December 28, 1948. She preceded him in death.

The couple served in Congo (then Zaire) from 1952 to 1990. Bob served as teacher and principal in Gbado and the Ubangi Academy. While at the academy, he was a beloved dorm parent to several hundred children of missionaries. He taught music to many of them. He also taught Bible in surrounding villages.

Survivors include two daughters, Linnea Stifler and Ann Peterson Thomson; two sons, Daniel Peterson and Richard Peterson; and eight grandchildren.

Services will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, at Covenant Village of Northbrook.


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  1. We all know that our eternal dwelling place is in Heaven where Jesus has prepared for us. As Bob Peterson has finished his work on earth, he has, of course received the reward of all he has done for the spiritual life of millions of Congolese while he was missionary educator, accountand and Advisor to the CEUM’s President in former Zaire. It is true that we will miss him but his work in Congo will continue to speak powerfully about him.
    My last visit with him was in December 2016 as I usually love to visit my friends missionaries at retirement home. He was the one who always came at the door to welcome me. He was still strong but he lost his hearing so he advised me to speak loud so that he can hear me well. He said he would love to sit next to me so that he can hear the news from Congo, the news from the CEUM, the news from his old friends (most of them also have passed away but he loved to check on them how they were doing). Though he was retired and lived in America, but his heart was still in Congo, and in the CEUM. All the time he would ask me to make sure that I was still on good contact with his daughter Judy and Richard my friends. He is gone, it is true but what he has done for me and my family will stay with us for ever. He played an important role as Missionary Accountant and Main Advisor to the CEUM President at that time Rev. Duale Lengena Duale who was CEUM Predident at that time. He contributed a lot at the time I was selected to receive C2C scholarship in 1987 to join North Park Theological Seminary as the first Congolese, and African to be sent to the States for Higher Education. He and his wife Ruth took their time seriously to encourage us on how to better live in Chicago. They both Ruth and Bob were and are my parents in African way. I know you are not going to be jaleous with me If I say that, but seriously I mean it. Peace with them in the Eternal dwelling home! You have done enough for us in Congo, the glorious throne from our Lord is for you. IPOK people, Gbado, Karawa will miss you. We love you. Mossai and Sabuli SANGUMA

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