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John Willard Peterson Edit Profile

composer , Publishing executive

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.


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, Singspiration, Inc., Carefree, Arizona, 1977-1983;president, John W. Peterson Music Company, Scottsdale, Arizona, since 1983. President Good Life Prodns., Scottsdale, 1977-1983. Board directors Gospel Films, Inc., Muskegon, Michigan, Family Life Radio.


  • Inductee Gospel Music Hall of Fame, 1986.


First lieutenant United States Army Air Force 1942-1945, China, Burma, India Theatre of Operations. Member American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Hump Pilots Association.


Married Marie Alta Addis (February 11, 1944). Children: Sandra Lynn Peterson Catzere, Candace Kay Peterson Strader, Pamela Lee Peterson Cruse.

Peter Ephraim Peterson

Adlina Mary (Nelson) Peterson

Marie Alta Addis

Sandra Lynn Peterson Catzere Peterson

Candace Kay Peterson Strader Peterson

Pamela Lee Peterson Cruse Peterson