Timothy Ainge, Lester Boyd, Clifford Kellogg, Trevor MacCay,
Micheael Neukirchen, Douglas Pineo, Washington Falconers
Hawk Chalk Vol. XLIII, No. 2 – August 2004
In Memoriam: Richard S. Peterson
June 20, 1925 — June 10, 2004
—by Clifford S. Kellogg
It is with sadness that I report the passing of one
of falconry’s nest, Mr. Richard S. Peterson, of
Issaquah, Washington.
Many of Mr. Peterson’s friends referred to him
as “Pete”, and I shall hereafter do likewise.
Pete was born on June 20, 1925, in Linesville,
Pennsylvania. He became interested in airplanes
and ight at the early age of 7, through a cousin
who gave him a model airplane. Shortly there-
after, Pete’s father took him and his brother to
an air show, where the boys were treated to an
airplane ride. It was at this time that he made
his decision; he was going to learn to y! It was
Pete’s passion for ight that eventually led him to
As the years passed, Pete graduated from high
school and entered college at Tri-State University
in Indiana, where he graduated with a Bachelor
of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1950,
he joined the Boeing Company, as a ight test
engineer. He worked there for the next 32 years,
retiring in 1983 as a senior ight test engineer.
Pete’s falconry began about 1958, after coming
across an article by Frank and John Craighead.
He was one of the original NAFA members, hav-
ing attended the rst Conclave at Hal Websters
place near Denver in 1961, and served as Pacic
Director for NAFA during 1966 and 1967. Pete
was a devoted NAFA member until his recent
passing. He was also a longtime honorary mem-
ber of the Washington Falconers Association.
In addition to his ardent support of falconry, Pete
was a strong supporter of the Raptor Research
Foundation, and was a Washington State
University benefactor, supporting the raptor pro-
gram there. He truly cared about falconers and
raptors, and understood well the need for political
involvement and scientic research.
On a personal note, 1 had the privilege of making
Pete’s acquaintance in the early 1970s. Michael
Neukirchen made the introduction, which turned
in to a friendship of over 30 years. Over those
years, Pete became my mentor, as he did for a
number of aspiring falconers. We spent many
evenings walking about the town (Issaquah,
Washington) with Michael’s and my redtails,
talking about anything from hawking to culinary
exploits to college and it’s challenges, and of
course, falconry politics. Pete was the single big-
gest inuence on me in this regard.
I learned many things from Pete over the years.
One of the most signicant is that the people
of falconry are the most important thing, more
so than the birds themselves. Certainly, no bird
has given me the sorts of memories that my re-
lationship with Pete has. Here on this earth, we
have lost one of falconry’s nest gentlemen. Our
loss is Heaven’s gain, and I look forward to see-
ing Pete again in those most excellent hawking
Photo by Clifford Kellogg
Photo by Bill Girden