Danny Lee Peters


Danny Lee Peters was born at home on April 15, 1931, in Aspinwall, Iowa. He spent his early childhood in Aspinwall attending the two-room schoolhouse until they moved to Manning in 1942. He finished his regular schooling in Manning and graduated with the high school Class of 1949. As a junior, he was a member of Manning’s 1948 State Basketball Championship Team. Like the movie Hoosiers, Iowa had no class divisions at that time. Manning had 150 students, and they defeated the defending state champions from Davenport, who had 2,000 students, the largest school in Iowa. It was an unbelievable upset.

During some summers, he worked for the Milwaukee Railroad in Manilla and Aspinwall and after he graduated, he spent six months at the Telegraphy and Business School in Chillicothe, Mo., where he became an accomplished telegrapher. He then got a job in Council Bluffs, where he worked for the railroad. During his time in Council Bluffs, he was a substitute telegrapher for vacationing senior positions. This gave him the opportunity to move around to various small railroad towns, two weeks each. It was during this time that he became a very accomplished baseball player, playing with almost all of the various local teams, again two weeks at a time. Each move caused him to play against former friends and teammates.

On June 15, 1952, he was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Lois Wilhelm, at Zion Lutheran Church in Manning. Five children: Michael, Mark, Julie, Jeffrey and Gregory were born to this union. The three oldest were born while he was in school at Ames. Six months after his marriage, he was drafted into the Army and proudly served his country until he was honorably discharged in June 1954. He was an ammunition runner during the Battle of Pork Chop Hill and was promoted twice during his service. He was discharged as an Army sergeant. While stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, he would often venture into the Colorado mountains on the weekends. It was on one of these excursions that he was determined to live in the mountains out west. A veteran forester advised him to go to school, get a degree and he would be able to pick his desired location. He did just that.

He returned from Korea and took advantage of the GI Bill and went to school at Iowa State in Ames, where he graduated with a degree in forestry. While there, he was a member of the 1957 baseball team that took third place at the College World Series in Omaha.

His 25-year forestry career took him to the Black Hills in South Dakota, and Dillon, Pagosa Springs, Steamboat Springs and Monte Vista, in Colorado. He was the Forest Ranger for the Pagosa District in Pagosa Springs from 1967-1976, during which time the kids attended school and Lois worked as a nurse. He was then transferred to Steamboat Springs to the supervisor’s office. Upon retiring from the Forest Service, he started his own painting business. His grandfather and father had been painters in Iowa, so through high school, he grew up painting with his father and worked his way through college painting on the side. He continued to paint well into his 80s, mostly volunteering to head up smaller projects around the various communities where he lived. Mike, Jeff and Greg have also become painters, along with Mike’s son, Dan, who is now a sixth-generation family painter.

In June of 1991, Dan and Lois moved back to Manning to help care for their elderly parents. Dan was very active in every community in which he lived. While in Pagosa, he served on the City Council for a few years and was very active in the local Lions Club. Within a few years of moving back to Manning, he served as Manning’s mayor for six years and was instrumental in creating many of the major community projects that were established during those years. These included a German Heritage Park Farm, and the Hausbarn, a structure that was built in Germany around 1650, dismantled and rebuilt in Manning. It is now the oldest structure in the U.S. by about 100 years. Also, the Trinity Church relocation, a 1913, 60-foot steeple church with a pipe organ and multiple stained glass windows that was moved, intact, 11 miles to its current location in Manning next to the Hausbarn. He also helped with the development and restoration of Great Western Park, which is a waterfowl, fishing and camping venue. He created an early design of the trail system around the perimeter of Manning, much of which was adopted in the current design, and helped design and create the Manning Veterans Wall. He served proudly with the VFW Honor Guard, having just retired his active status early in November at the age of 90.

The past 20 years, Dan and Lois spent their winters in Harlingen, Texas, but due to health issues, decided to stay in Manning full time since March of 2020. Lois passed away on Dec. 8, 2020, exactly one year and one day from Dan. Since Lois’ passing, Dan had been on dialysis three days a week and was driving himself the 40 miles round trip for each of his treatments, which continued up until the week before he passed. Dan fell ill on Sunday, Dec. 5, and due to his dialysis complications, was transferred from Manning to St. Luke’s hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, where he joined Lois and his Lord and Savior in the evening of Dec. 9, 2021.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lois; granddaughter Kelsey Peters; and infant grandson, Jonathan Peters.

Dan is survived by his five children, 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.