Orban Wales Peters Jr., 93, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017.
He was a longtime resident of Cleveland and was known fondly to family, friends, and coworkers as “O.W.” or “Pete.”
He was a generous, kind man and a talented “fixer.” He repaired everything from the paper machines at Bowater to his children’s toys. He was known locally for repairing and working on firearms for hunters and law enforcement personnel. He often did not charge for his work.
He was born June 4, 1924, to Tempa Mae Fraysier and O.W. Peters, at home on a farm near Fort Blackmore in the mountains of southwestern Virginia (Scott County). He grew up among kinfolk, helping with chores, walking to school and being chased by mules. He was the youngest of five children and outlived his siblings: brother Fred Watson, who died as a teenager; brother Robert H., and sisters: Mary Irene (Helms) and Nancy Kate (Reid).
After graduating from high school at Dungannon, Va., he worked in Baltimore, Md., for the Glenn L. Martin Co. He was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army in World War II, and was assigned to the Rolling W, 89th Infantry Division, 914th Field Artillery Battalion.
He shipped in January 1945 to Camp Lucky Strike at Le Havre, France, just after the Battle of the Bulge. From there, his unit rapidly advanced into Nazi Germany and joined Patton’s Third Army's assault on the Rhineland. The 89th overran Ohrdruf, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Ohrdruf was the first Nazi concentration camp liberated by U.S. troops in Germany.
After the war, he returned to southwest Virginia and enrolled at Milligan College near Johnson City, using the GI bill. There he met his wife of 66 years, Anna Margarete Holzer.
He graduated in 1950; he and Anna Margarete married after she graduated in 1951. The couple had three daughters: Lynne Anne (Sullivan) of Knoxville, Margarete Ruth (Charles Morton) of Camden, S.C., and Nancy Suzanne (Robert W. Moore) of Franklin. Anna Margarete currently lives in Knoxville.
His first job after his marriage was at the Army’s Holston Ordnance plant in Kingsport. He subsequently moved his wife and young daughter to Cleveland to take a job with the then-new Bowater paper mill in Calhoun. He worked there as a foreman until his retirement.
In Cleveland, he became active in the newly formed First Lutheran Church, where he served on many committees and as an elder.
An avid outdoorsman, he loved camping, bird hunting, and especially fishing. The family pets, other people’s kids, and fishing equipment were always in tow on family camping trips to the beach or the mountains. His daughters remember lessons in casting a fishing line, learning to reload shotgun shells and rafting down the Hiwassee River before it became commercialized. They also were the only girls at summer camp who knew how to clean fish.
After his retirement, O.W. and Anna Margarete did a lot of traveling, including camping at western national parks and driving twice to Alaska. He often could be found wading the upper Hiwassee River with a fishing line baited for trout.
In his later years, O.W. spent time working on guns, fishing for catfish on the Tennessee River, eating breakfast with the Liars’ Club, and enjoying his two grandchildren: Kaitlin Wales Kyle (William Burns) of Nashville and John Patrick Sullivan of New York City. He taught them how to fish, too.
This year, O.W. greeted his great-granddaughter, Dorothy Dillard Burns.
O.W. is much loved and missed by his family, who invite those who knew him to a celebration of his life well lived on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at 1 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, 195 McIntire Ave. N.E., Cleveland, including commitment to the church’s columbarium with military honors.
A brief receiving of friends and family will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund/Alzheimer’s Disease Research Foundation, 34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arrangements are by Cremation Options, Inc. (865) 6WE-CARE (693-2273) www.cremationoptionsinc.com.
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