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Michael Lee Peterson

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 9th, 2013

OLATHE, Kan. — Michael Lee Peterson passed away September 5, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. He was 65 years old.

Many will know and lovingly remember him as “Pete,” the friendly artist who frequented many Olathe, Kan. diners. 

Pete never knew a stranger, as he loved to sit in his favorite diner booth, sketch, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and socialize with all of the locals. 

Pete was born September 2, 1948 in Monticello Ill. and was raised in Clinton, Ill. 

He started making art at a very early age, and his creative gift was nurtured by his father Paul. 

Pete attended the Clinton Fine Arts Center in Clinton, Ill., and after high school enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Vietnam War, 1970-71, as an illustrator for the 4th  Psychological Operations Group. He was awarded the Bronze Star, and the war made a profound mark on his artwork. 

He attended The American Academy of Art in Chicago, Ill. after Vietnam, and during this time he assembled the Vietnam Veterans Arts Group with fellow veteran artists. His artwork, reflecting his war experiences, toured around the country and was featured in Time-Life Books. He has many artworks hanging in corporate and personal collections.

The Native American culture has always been a huge part of his life, and he was always very proud of his Cherokee heritage. 

Pete left behind a son Tadjen, Olathe, Kan.; daughter-in-law Heidi; grandchildren Wyatt, and Lindsey; daughter Jaimie, Hunt, Texas; brother Patrick and mother Rhea, Clinton, Ill.

He was preceded in death by his father Paul.

The family would like to welcome all who knew Pete to celebrate his life with them on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at noon at the Olathe Veterans Park, in Olathe, Kan.. 

A bench honoring him will be placed there in the near future, overlooking his beloved hangout, the Old 56 Family Restaurant.

Any donations may be made to the Olathe Veterans Memorial Park.

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