James Emmet Peterson | PostIndependent.com

James Emmet Peterson

James Emmet Peterson, of Glenwood Springs, Colo., died Monday, May 13, 2002, at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. He was 75.

Mr. Peterson was born June 6, 1926, in Antelope Valley Township, S.D., to Emma Johnson and Ole Peterson.

He married Gayle Skjerven.

Mr. Peterson served in the U.S. Merchant Marines and Navy during World War II.

He earned a masters degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and became a professor there. He was also a professor at Duke University.

In 1960 he started his own company, Scientific Computers, which he later moved to New York City. The company became a primary consultant to NASA and developed the mathematics to support the inertia program on the Apollo moon missions. The mathematical formula was developed to slingshot the Apollo capsule around the moon, providing the capsule with the necessary inertia to make the journey back to Earth. The calculations were necessary to ensure a safe return for the Apollo astronauts.

Mr. Peterson lived his life to the fullest, and viewed everything as a challenge to be met and surpassed.

He is survived by: wife Gayle Peterson, of New York, N.Y.; sons James Eric Peterson and Peter Jason Peterson, both of New York; daughters and son-in-law Cheryl and Matthew Goodstein, of Glenwood Springs, and Joan Peterson, of Minneapolis, Minn.; brothers Russell Peterson, Howard Peterson and Victor Peterson, all of South Dakota; sister Ingle Storm, of South Dakota; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Farnum Holt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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