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Associated Press, Published April 19 2013

Services set for former ND state auditor Peterson

BISMARCK — People who knew and worked with longtime North Dakota State Auditor Robert "Bob" W. Peterson say he was a man whose name was synonymous with integrity.

Peterson, a Republican, died Wednesday in Bismarck after battling cancer. He was 84.

"Bob was a good man and a good public servant. He served our state with dedication," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.

Peterson was elected to his first term as state auditor in 1972 and was re-elected six consecutive terms until he retired in 1996, ending a career in the office that spanned nearly a quarter century. His son, Robert R. Peterson, was elected to take his place and remains the state auditor, winning his fifth term last November.

Former longtime state School Superintendent Wayne Sanstead, a Democrat, told The Bismarck Tribune that the elder Peterson was a rare public servant who managed to keep politics out of the day-to-day operation of his office.

"We had many years of shared leadership," Sanstead said. "There was a trust factor there ... his leadership made a difference. We lost a great leader."

Peterson served in the state House of Representatives from 1967-1972, before moving on to the auditor's office. The state Supreme Court said Peterson also was known for being the high school basketball coach of legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson, who played at Williston High and led the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to multiple titles.

Rod Backman, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, remembered Peterson as a down-to-earth, friendly person who brought professionalism to his office.

"It was something beyond work ethic," Backman told the Tribune. "He treated everyone with respect."

Memorial services for Peterson will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the Baptist Home in Bismarck and at 2 p.m. Monday at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Bismarck, according to Parkway Funeral Service. A military burial will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery south of Mandan.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.