In Memory of




Obituary for Zell E Peterman

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)