Dec. 21 proclaimed a day of remembrance for former Commissioner Ewald Petersen, who was described as a dedicated public servant

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Ewald Petersen, a former Sherburne County commissioner who died Dec. 6 at age 82, has been remembered by the county he served.

A proclamation honoring Petersen’s life and legacy was passed by county commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 21, and that day was proclaimed a day of remembrance for him. His wife and other family members were in the audience to receive the proclamation.

Petersen, of Big Lake, served as a Sherburne County commissioner for 12 years, from 2007 to 2019.

Commissioner Felix Schmiesing served with Petersen for many years and said he misses him.

“He was a valuable ally to me over his years on the board, and we had a lot of fun together,” Schmiesing said.

Other county commissioners also remembered Petersen.

Commissioner Lisa Fobbe served with Petersen for two years, and said she is grateful for him and the legacy he has left.

When Commissioner Barb Burandt was first elected to the County Board in 2016, she was one of three new members. Petersen brought a historical perspective to the board, she said, adding, “I really appreciated his insight.”

Commissioner Tim Dolan said the amount of time Petersen dedicated to public service is “incredibly impressive.”

“We know the sacrifice that takes from a family, in letting him give all that time back to the community,” Dolan told Petersen’s family. “I just want you to know that while we appreciate him and his service, we appreciate all the hours that you gave up with him in order to let him serve his community.”

Former Big Lake Mayor Raeanne Danielowski was elected to fill Petersen’s seat on the County Board after he retired. She said he was a very dedicated public servant who put in a lot of hours.

Danielowski presented the proclamation to Petersen’s wife, Rita.

Rita thanked county officials and said her husband enjoyed what he did.

“He did spend a lot of time, but that was what he wanted to be doing,” she said.

A Minnesota native, Ewald was born in Champlin and graduated from Anoka High School and the University of Minnesota.

According to his obituary, he and Rita were married in 1964 and together they farmed in Champlin, raising gladiolus for cut flowers, as well as a variety of vegetable “truck farm” crops. Ewald was active in Champlin politics, serving on the Champlin City Council and Planning Commission.

In 1978, he moved his family and farming operation to Big Lake, where he continued to grow his business. He continued his affinity for local politics, serving for many years as the chairman of the Big Lake Township Board, and later 12 years as a Sherburne County commissioner, according to his obituary.

“In his 82 years, Ewald was most thankful and proud of his family,” his obituary stated.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by six children, seven grandchildren, one great-grandson and a sister.

According to the proclamation passed by the County Board, Petersen “represented his District admirably and worked constantly for his constituents, much to the betterment of both the Big Lake area and the larger Sherburne County community.”

The proclamation went on to say that the County Board expressed its sincere thanks and appreciation for Petersen’s dedication and outstanding performance of his duties while commissioner, adding, “Ewald will always be remembered as a dedicated public servant to our community and a valued citizen of Sherburne County.”

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