Born: November 1, 1921, Lindsborg, Kansas.
Died: September 20, 2006, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Buried: Paradise Memorial Gardens, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Pseudonym: John Willard.
Of Swedish lineage, John was the son of Peter Ephraim Peterson and Mary Adeline Nelson, and husband of Marie Addis (married February 1944).
He lost his father at age four, and came to Christ age 12. He displayed a musical gift early, writing his first song while a senior in high school.
In World II, he served in the Army Air Corps, flying the Himalayan supply route to China.
After the war, he attended Moody Bible Institute and the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois (graduated 1953).
In 1954, he went to work for the Singspiration Music Company in Montrose, Pennsylvania.
When Zondervan Publishing House bought Singspiration in 1963, Peterson moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was president and editor-in-chief for over a decade.
Later in life, Peterson served on the board of Gospel Films, Inc., Muskegon, Michigan. After moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, he co-founded Good Life Productions and was on the board of Family Life Radio Network in Tucson, Arizona.
He was admitted to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1986.