Dr. Mel Peterson
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Mel Peterson, Director of the John Deere Planetarium from 1988 to 1998. After suffering a heart attack on July 13, he was hospitalized and died on July 16, 2011 in Berlin, Germany during a trip with his wife Betty that was to include a much anticipated trip to Sweden.

Mel Peterson was deeply involved with the work of the planetarium since its founding in 1969 and over the years gave star shows to tens of thousands of Quad City area school kids and taught them about the wonders of the nighttime sky.

After his retirement, Mel continued to volunteer at the planetarium, giving shows to field trip groups as well as special programs such as the "Follow the Drinking Gourd" show


Dr. Melbert Peterson
Taken on April 6, 2001

for Black History month and the "Season of Light" show for Christmas. He had enormous enthusiasm for teaching people about astronomy and touched many lives at the planetarium. Mel will be missed, but part of him will live on in the John Deere Planetarium.  Here is a related article.  Official star gazer of the Quad Cities.  "The action is its own reward."  Here is the obituary.  Here are some remembrances shared at his funeral.