California counties lost an icon to local government this past weekend.  Don Peterson passed away on Friday, succumbing to pancreatic cancer.  Out of respect for the wishes of the family, CSAC has waited until now to advise you.

Don had a long and very distinguished career in California government, especially in the service of counties. 

He began his professional career as a professor at Humboldt State University and was elected to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors in 1969.  After leaving the Board in 1976, Don served as the Chief of Staff to Senator Barry Keene, Senate Majority Leader, before setting up his own firm in 1986 to advocate on behalf of a number of suburban and rural counties.  

By the time of his death, twenty-two of California’s fifty-eight counties valued his expertise as a legislative advocate.

Don was one of the rare advocates who was equally loved and respected by both democratic and republican legislators and staff.  As a result of his tireless hard work and unwavering dedication to others, Don succeeded in compiling an impressive career of civic achievements, earning him the admiration and respect of those who had the privilege of working with him in all aspects of his life. He was recently awarded the California State Association of Counties “Lifetime Achievement Award”.

Don was a personal, as well as professional friend to many county officials in California and will be sourly missed.  Services will be held on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 10 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 2500 K Street, in Sacramento, California.  CSAC has provided its conference room (above the Pyramid Brewery) for a get together after the services.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to:

Sutter VNA Hospice
In Memory of Donald F. Peterson
7300 Folsom Blvd, #100
Sacramento, CA  95826

CSAC extends its sincerest sympathy to Don’s family and loved ones.

Paul McIntosh
Executive Director
California State Association of Counties