James (Jim) L. Peterson Jr., 59, of 2120 Grant St., PO Box 44, Utica, passed away Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at home, after a courageous three-year battle with brain cancer.
Jim was born in Meadville on April 5, 1953, a son of the late James Leonard Peterson Sr. and Helen Pruskowski Peterson. On Oct. 14, 1983, Jim married Darla Perry Nicolls; she survives.
Jim was raised on his parents’ dairy farm on the Franklin Pike, Meadville. He was a 1971 graduate of Cochranton High School, where he played basketball and baseball. He attended Edinboro University, majoring in mathematics and business administration, and also played college baseball. Jim worked at Meadville Coca-Cola Bottling Co. for 16 years, starting as a summer help driver, but continued his employment there, advancing to salesman, area manager and sales manager. When Meadville Coca-Cola was sold to Keystone Coca-Cola, he became the branch manager of the Meadville facility. In 1986, he started a small snack food vending company, Quaker Vending, out of his garage on Thurston Road, Meadville. In 1987, using his soft drink distribution experience, he expanded his business to sub-distribute RC Cola and Cotton Club products for the Cotton Club Bottling Company in Cleveland, becoming Quaker Distributing. Hearing of a “new age” drink, Snapple, being sold in New York, he contacted the owners to obtain distribution rights for a five-county area of northwestern Pennsylvania. Over the next 16 years, his company grew to employ 25 people and introduced and distributed such drinks as SoBe, Fuze, Vitamin Water, Tradewinds, Hanks and Stewarts into 10 counties of northwest Pennsylvania. His company sponsored many Little League baseball teams and soccer teams as well as many festivals and events in the area. In 2006, he partnered with 7-Up Bottling, Pittsburgh, to distribute 7-Up; unfortunately that deal resulted in putting Quaker Distributing out of business. The doors closed in August 2006. Jim became employed as the general manager of Provanta, a division of Goss Gas in Reno, leaving in 2009. Upon leaving Provanta, Jim started NuDay Distributing and began distributing Boylans, Tradewinds and Arizona drinks while being an independent courier for Day Delivery Service. He also was employed part-time in 2011 at Tractor Supply, Seneca and Fort Venango Vending, Franklin.
Jim enjoyed being with family and friends, raising Black Angus beef cattle and visiting the Outer Banks, N.C. He was a life-long Cleveland Indians and Browns fan. He was always a hard-working, good man who was dearly loved by his family.
In addition to his wife, Darla, of 29 years, Jim is survived by four children, Casey J. Peterson and his companion, Brenda Ditrich, of Erie, Jay L. Peterson and his wife, Mina, of Columbia, Md., Nathan W. Nicolls of Meadville, and Katie Jo Stearns and her companion, Rick Motzing, of Conneaut Lake; and three grandchildren, Elise and Ethan Peterson, Riley Jo Stearns and a fourth grandchild to arrive this summer. Also surviving are two sisters, Beverly Albert and her husband, Larry, and Toni Wagner and her husband, David; two brothers, Glen Peterson, and Thomas Peterson and his wife, Patricia, all of Meadville; his aunt, Winsome Hunter; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
In addition to his parents, Leonard and Helen Peterson Sr., Jim was preceded in death by his parents-in-law, Joseph L. and Gene Perry.
Family and friends are invited to call on Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home and Cremation Services Inc., 404 Chestnut St., Meadville, where a scripture service will be conducted at 3:45 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Brigid Roman Catholic Church, 383 Arch St., Meadville, with Father Johnathan Schmolt, pastor, as celebrant.
Interment will take place in Cochranton Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Crawford County, 464 Pine St., Meadville, Pa. 16335; or the Regional Cancer Center, 2500 W. 12th St., Erie, Pa. 16505; or Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kan. 66675.
Jim’s family would like to thank the National Institute of Health, The Regional Cancer Center, Hospice of Crawford County, the doctors, nurses, family and friends for their care, love and support throughout Jim’s illness.
Share your condolences at miznerfuneralhome.com.