Peterson Electro-Musical Products Inc. founder Richard H. (Dick) Peterson passed away on January 29, 2009, after a 14-year-long bout with a debilitating illness.
Peterson served in the U.S. Army as a radio engineer from 1943 to 1946 and studied electronics at the City College of New York. While in New York City, he visited Radio City Music Hall; when he heard the room-filling sound of the theater’s pipe organ, he became determined to dedicate his career to “perfecting” the pipe organ. In 1948, Petersen co-founded the Haygren Church Organ Company in Chicago and soon thereafter founded Peterson Electro-Musical Products (Alsip, Ill.). For nearly 20 years, much of his time was devoted to developing and improving the Gulbransen line of electronic church and theater organs, including creating the first solid-state control systems for real pipe organs. In 1998, Peterson rebuilt the same organ consoles for Radio City. Other Peterson creations include a family of musical instrument strobe tuners.
Peterson Electro-Musical Products Inc. remains a family owned and -operated business, with Scott R. Peterson, Richard’s son, serving as company president. Memorial donations in Peterson’s name may be made to the American Guild of Organists’ “New Organist Fund,” 475 Riverside Dr., Suite 1260, New York, NY 10115; www.agohq.org. To post your memorial, visit www.petersontuners.com/rhp.