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John Willard Peterson

John Willard Peterson, American composer, publishing executive. Decorated Air medal; recipient Sacred Music award National Evangelical Film Foundation, 1966, Music Achievement award Christian Artists, 1985; Honor Certified Freedoms Foundation, 1975; winner International Gospel Composition of Year, Society European Stage, Authors and Composers, 1986, Ray DeVries Church Music award, 1996; inductee Gospel Music Hall of Fame, 1986.


  • Peterson, John Willard was born on November 1, 1921 in Lindsborg, Kansas, United States. Son of Peter Ephraim and Adlina Mary (Nelson) Peterson.

  • Education

    • Student, Moody Bible Institute, 1948. Bachelor of Music, American Conservatory Music, 1952. Doctor of Music (honorary), John Brown University, 1967.

      Doctor of Divinity (honorary), West Baptist Seminary, 1970. Doctor of Fine Arts (honorary), Grand Canyon University, 1979.


    • Radio broadcaster Station WMBI, Chicago, 1950-1955. Editor in chief, president Singspiration, Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1955-1971, executive composer Carefree, Arizona, 1977-1983. President Good Life Productions, Scottsdale, 1977-1983, John W. Peterson Music Company, Scottsdale, 1983-1988.

      Board directors Gospel Films, Inc., Muskegon, Michigan.



    1st lieutenant United States Army Air Force 1942-1945, China. Member American Society of Composers, Hump Pilots Association.


    • Married Marie Alta Addis (February 11, 1944). Children: Sandra Lynn Peterson Catzere, Candace Kay Peterson Strader, Pamela Lee Peterson Cruse.
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    Born November 1, 1921
    Died September 27, 2006
    (aged 84)
    • 1948
      Moody Bible Institute
    • 1952
      American Conservatory Music
    • 1967
      John Brown University
    • 1970
      West Baptist Seminary
    • 1979
      Grand Canyon University
    • 1950 - 1955
      Radio broadcaster Station WMBI
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
    • 1977 - 1983
      president, Good Life Productions
      Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
    • 1983 - 1988
      president, Good Life Productions
      Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
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