Zell Peterman

Zell E Peterman

Thursday, November 29th, 1934 - Sunday, July 21st, 2019
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Zell Edwin Peterman, 84, passed away peacefully on July 21, 2019 among his family and friends in Lakewood, Colorado.

Zell was born on November 29, 1934 in Edna Township, Cass County, Iowa to Lloyd and Edna (Hudson) Peterman. The youngest of three brothers, he was delivered on a farm in a house built by his father.
He graduated from Loveland High School in 1953 after which he attained a B.S. degree in Geology and Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 1957. He continued postgraduate studies at the University of Minnesota and received an M.S. degree in Geology and Geophysics in 1959. He went on to complete a Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics in in 1962 at the University of Alberta, Canada

Zell had the good fortune of meeting and marrying Gladys Irene Hendry in Edmonton, Alberta while completing his Ph.D. They were happily married for 59 years. They raised a family together - two sons, Bruce and Brian, and had many adventures, mostly geologic, throughout the years. He loved his grandchildren, Alexander and Kaylyn immensely, and they learned a lot from their Grandpa, both are good at cribbage. He loved dogs, initially his own and later his sons’ dogs including the most recent addition of Clou, the cat that thinks she’s a dog. He enjoyed cooking for family and trying out new and fun recipes on the clan along with the occasional bottle of wine from worlds away. Golfing was another love. Gladys and Zell golfed regularly after he retired and kept swinging away to improve their game as well as spread the “golf fever” to other potential players. Zell enjoyed all these pastimes, but he loved geology and his profession. He enjoyed teaching geology to anyone who would listen. He carried that love of his craft with him always and he made a great life for himself and his family.
Zell Peterman joined the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 1962 and conducted research in geochronology of geologic terrains focusing on Precambrian basement rocks in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Lake Superior, and upper Michigan. He was a pioneer in many geologic disciplines of geochronology, geochemistry, and applied isotope geology and focused his research on scientific and practical problems. He also did work in Sweden with a colleague.

In September 2002, Zell was awarded the Distinguished Service Award which is the highest honorary recognition an employee can receive within the Department of the Interior.

He was a Fellow of the GSA, SME, and Mineralogical Society and Member for the RMAG and AGU. He had over 160 peer reviewed papers published in numerous professional publications and is well known for his scientific contributions to the field of geology. He retired from the USGS in 2007 but continued to work as an emeritus. Additionally, he established ZEP, LLC, a consulting company for engineering and professional geologic services.

Zell is survived by his wife, Gladys; his sons, Bruce (Kirsten) Peterman of Broomfield and Brian Peterman of Aurora, CO; his brother, Gordon (Mary) Peterman of Tempe, AZ; his grandchildren, Alexander Peterman and Kaylyn Peterman.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Franklin Peterman.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made at:

The Denver Hospice
501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 700
Denver, Colorado 80246

American Cancer Society (Colorado)
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  • Service

    Friday, July 26th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Friday, July 26th, 2019 11:00am
    Aspen Lakewood Chapel
    1350 Simms St
    Lakewood, Colorado 80401
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Mary, Gordon and all, John and Raye Arnold, and other have sent flowers to the family of Zell E Peterman.
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Shannon Mahan

Posted at 07:45am
Zell gave me my first job at USGS. I'm heartbroken that I am traveling and missed his funeral. I did not even know he was ill. He change my life forever, before there was such a trendy word as "mentor". His kindness and generosity set me in a life path that I can never repay. He was a great boss and a larger than life person. Physically and mentally! Because of Zell's faith in my geologic abilities I was able to succeed at the USGS. Thank you Zell. You will be missed.

Dave Gosselin

Posted at 04:11pm
Zell - you will be missed by all who knew you. You were a friend, a colleague, and mentor who took me in as a graduate student and we stayed friends over the many years since. Beth and I always enjoyed our time with you and Gladys as well as with the rest of your family when we could get together in Denver. I always appreciated your generosity and thoughtfulness. You have left behind a great legacy in your sons and grandchildren...All our thoughts and prayers are with the Peterman clan as they adjust to life without Zell physically with them. Zell will always be with you in your hearts and minds. Dave and Beth Gosselin

Mary, Gordon and all

Posted at 12:28pm
As you grieve know that we are remembering you and honoring the memory of "Zell Peterman".
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Mary, Gordon and all purchased the Gracious Lavender Basket for the family of Zell Peterman. Send Flowers


John and Raye Arnold

Posted at 11:28am
With heartfelt condolences,
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John and Raye Arnold purchased flowers for the family of Zell Peterman. Send Flowers


Bill Wallin with family

Posted at 04:19am
Zell, you were a true friend and I will cherish our times together.
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Bill Wallin with family purchased flowers for the family of Zell Peterman. Send Flowers


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