Today we lost a very important person in our lives, John Milton Peterson, better known as “Pete.”
Pete was born on Feb. 14, 1947, to Milton and Marian Peterson in Bellevue, Wash. He became a star athlete in high school, excelling at everything, but football and baseball were his passions. He was the star high school quarter back at Bellevue High and received a scholarship at University of Washington for baseball.
During his college years, he started his love of the construction business. His first project was building his parents retirement home in Port Ludlow, Wash. He moved to Vail, Colo., in the ‘60s doing construction and working at the Ore House, where he learned the art of being a restaurateur. With his construction skills and four other partners, he moved to Missoula to start his first restaurant, The Depot. (He felt Vail was getting too big — that was in 1974).
His next move was in 1976 to Billings, where he refurbished The Granary at Rocky Mountain College. He owned and managed that for 30 years. It became a Billings icon and set the standard for the best steak house in Montana.
Two years after The Granary was established, Pete started out on another adventure opening his third restaurant. He remodeled an old railroad depot in La Crosse, Wis., and named it The Freight House. Then he returned back to Billings to run The Granary.
While running The Granary, Pete fell madly in love with a waitress named Jeanne Rambold. He won her over by wooing her with his charismatic style and gentle spirit. They were married on Wild Horse Island in Flat Head Lake, Aug. 15, 1981, and were married for 17 years. They had two beautiful girls, Lindsay and Teal, who became the center of their whole universe. Pete’s love and adoration for his girls was evident in everything he did.
Pete enjoyed his Falls, hunting with his friends and his beloved dogs (Stoney I, II & III). Winters, skiing in the mountains in Red Lodge and Big Sky. Springs, traveling to his beach house in Sayulita, Mexico, and weekend trips to Cook City and Chico Hot Springs. Summers, relaxing by the pool, deck season at The Granary, Summerfair and Rocky football games!!! Everyone who worked at The Granary felt like they were family. Pete’s nickname was “Big Daddy,” and he truly was that to all the hundreds of employees. Pete had such a kind heart; he was always there to listen, to help a friend, to give a ride, lend money, and so much more.
He is survived by his two daughters, Lindsay Peterson Bell (Brent), Teal Peterson; his sister Linda Bratrud and his nieces Courtney and Dana.
A special thanks goes out to Doctor John Kominsky and all the staff at Saint Vincent Hospital. Please come help us celebrate Pete’s life Saturday on The Granary deck from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your favorite stories so we can all laugh, cry and remember the good old days! The family kindly requests donations be made to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Department or any charity of your choosing.