John Merrell Peters, 86, a long-time Fort Dodge attorney, passed away early on Monday, February 4, 2013 at the Trinity Regional Medical Center.

He was born on January 16, 1927 in Rochester, Minnesota, the second child of Sample Rex and Emma Lee Peters. He grew up in DeWitt, Iowa, where his father owned and operated a shoe store. He attended the public schools in DeWitt, graduating from DeWitt High School in 1944.

After beginning his college studies, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a radio technician near the end of World War II, but did not go overseas. He graduated with a B.A. degree in Economics from the State University of Iowa in 1948. While at the university he met Mary Lou Poorbaugh, originally from Anamosa, Iowa. John and Mary Lou were wed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 5, 1948. John then entered law school, earning his J.D. from the University of Iowa Law School in 1951. John was a proud supporter and fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes for the rest of his life.

John and Mary Lou moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1951, where John began practicing law with his older brother, William, also a long-time Fort Dodge attorney, who preceded John in death in August 2003. Mary Lou was an elementary school teacher. From January 12, 1953 through January 9, 1955 John served as the elected State Representative (Republican) for District 62 in Webster County in the 55th Iowa General Assembly.

When John and Mary Lou returned to Fort Dodge, John continued practicing law, specializing in wills and estates. During his long career he practiced law with his brother, served as a vice president and director for First Federal Savings and Loan in Fort Dodge, served as trust officer for The State Bank of Fort Dodge, and also had a solo practice of law.

He was a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Fort Dodge, as well as the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and the Phi Alpha Delta professional law society. At various times during his life he was a director of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Lions Club, a director of the “I” Club, and a member of the Toastmasters Club, the Masonic Lodge, DeMolay Consistory, and the Kaaba Shrine.

John is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Lou, of Fort Dodge, his son Chuck and daughter-in-law Mary Ann (Garton) Peters of Cedar Rapids, his son Jim and daughter-in-law Laure Wess Peters of Cedar Rapids, his son Tom and daughter-in-law Victoria Lee (Sicola) Peters of Springfield, Missouri, and his son Roger and daughter-in-law Dr. Lorna Reichl of Golden Valley, Minnesota, as well as nine grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 9 at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1611 Williams Drive in Fort Dodge with Reverend Joseph Feldmann officiating. Visitation with the family will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 8 at the church. Arrangements are being made by Gunderson Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to First Congregational United Church of Christ.