Brian was born April 23, 1964, while the family was living in Wayzata, MN. He is the sixth of seven children, and is survived by his mother, Mildred (Mickey), his siblings: Joseph (Patti), James, Cindy Leonard (Mike), Fr. Bradley Peterson, O. Carm., and Kerry Michelle LaMountain (Scott), as well as 17 nieces and nephews.
Preceding Brian in death were his father, Willard (Pete) Peterson, two brothers, Gregory and Gerard (Jardi) Peterson, and nephew Peter William Peterson.
After a brief time in Minnesota, the family relocated back to their native Iowa. In 1974 most of the family began its Arizona adventure, where Brian attended Phoenix College, falling in love with philosophy and the world of sound and poetry. During those years he volunteered at St. Agnes Church as sound tech for the music group and as a Core youth leader. Soon after graduating with his Associates of Arts degree, he continued his studies at University of Arizona and after embarked on his career with the Arizona Theatre Company, thus making Tucson his home. He wrote poetry for his family and friends, had wide interest in film, theatre, music, and the arts in general.
In 1992-1993 he was a full-time volunteer with Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, serving the poor and migrant population of the area. He had a huge heart for the poor!
Brian was the resident sound designer with Arizona Theatre Company for 34 seasons, where he produced sound designs for over 90 productions, earning many ariZoni Awards and mentoring many young people throughout his career. His designs have been heard in many theatres throughout the country, where he is highly respected for his craft.
Brian, along with friends Matt DeVore and John Howard, followed their hearts to open Mission Coffee Imports in downtown Tucson just a couple of months after Brian’s cancer diagnosis last year. They have been roasting and serving delicious, “At Peak” coffee for years at local farmers markets and finally realized their dream of opening a shop.
Brian intentionally lived Jesus’ double command to love in many extraordinary and humble ways, touching so many people with his big heart. Please keep our family in your prayers during the days ahead as we celebrate Brian’s life and thank the Lord for taking him home where he no longer suffers. Brian will be sorely missed by his large family and by so many in Tucson. The family welcomes all to services, listed below.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019
Visitation 6:00 -8:00 pm, with prayer service at 7:00 pm
Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home
4800 E. Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Monday, Nov. 4, 2019
Funeral Mass at 10:00 am, followed by luncheon in Parish Hall
St. Agnes Catholic Church
1954 N. 24th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Burial will follow luncheon with police escorts from St. Agnes at 1:30 pm
1212 N Center St
Mesa, AZ 85201
Donations may be made in Brian’s honor to St. Agnes School or to Arizona Theatre Company.
My deepest condolences to Brian’s family. Thank you for taking such good care of him.
We will miss him.
One if the kindest guys I’ve ever met. He always treated me like we were long lost buddies! He is definitely going to be missed !
Brian was a truly unique individual, always interesting and very insightful. His dedication to the theatre and his craft as sound designer are legendary. He loved what he was doing and he made countless people happy by the always excellent productions of ATC. Brian also loved the Lord Jesus and his church and was faithful to the greatest show of all which is the Eucharistic Liturgy. May he soon know the fullness of being in God’s presence and meeting all the holy men and women who inspire us to serve the Lord and our neighbors especially the poor. Brian walked the talk. I wish peace to all of his clan especially to his big brother Fr. Bradley who was so close to Brian in a truly inspiring fraternal bond. I will remember all of you in my prayers and Masses. I am so sorry for this great lose. Please accept my sympathy as you mourn and remember. Lovingly, (Fr.) Patrick Gavin, O.Carm.
So sorry for your loss – but it’s a loss for all of us who knew or worked with him. I worked with Brian on numerous shows over the years and had great respect for his generosity with his time, skill, and collaboration. Truly one of the sweetest souls I have ever known.
I had the good fortune of working with Brian on several occasions at ATC, and shared many steak dinners at Daisy Mae’s. He will always be in my heart. Many tears and condolences to his family and friends.
Don Darnutzer and Vicki Smith
We were fellow designers with Brian at Arizona Theatre Company and several other theatres over more than 30 years. He was a fine designer and a lovely human being. We will miss him. Rest in peace, Brian.
Brian and I worked together at ATC for many years. It is hard to put into words the impact he had on all of us. I will most miss those big bear hugs.
Pat and Narmin Rolston
Brian made this world fundamentally a better place to live. This is an amazing legacy and one typical of the Peterson family. Our deepest condolences to the family and closest friends of Brian.
Brian was a mentor to me when I interned at ATC. I was a little intimidated by him at first, but I quickly realized what a kind, hilarious, down to earth person he truly was. He was the one who made me laugh the hardest during my time there. Not only was he constantly keeping my spirits up and making me feel included with his dry humor, he also taught me so much about problem solving, and how to be a professional in the arts. My time knowing him was cut short, but I will always get a smile on my face when I think of him and the way he talked to everyone.
Sally Jo Bannow
I am stunned to hear the news of Brian’s passing. I had the honor of working with him in several ATC productions. My heart is broken. Brian was one of the kindest and gentlest humans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He excelled at his work, and his tender heart showed in everything he did. I will miss him so. Heaven has gained a beautiful angel.
I had the privilege of working with Brian at the Arizona Theatre Company and drank a lot of his coffee. I loved having him make me a back eye and getting him upset that I added sugar and milk – I completely ruined the coffee. AND I learned to treat a bag of coffee the same as a loaf of bread.
I traveled to Tucson to be with friends at the procession and to travel to PHX on Monday. I am now back in Milwaukee and have thought about Brian everyday. It became so obvious that he touched so many people and had a large number of friends in his life. The line of cars that shut down the PHX streets was of rockstar status and Brian was a rockstar. I also learned so much more about him and of his help to others; it was if he had a secret life that I didn’t know about. I want to thank the family for letting me and others be a part of his celebration of life. Thank you for sharing your stories and having us hear more about what a wonderful person Brian was. I miss him and will always keep him in my heart. Rest in peace Brian.
A year ago today we lost our beautiful boy, dear younger brother, close friend. Below I will share with those who didn’t get to go to Brian’s wake service the thoughts I shared there that evening before his funeral. Please feel free to add more Brian memories to this online platform. Thank you.
I’m Cindy Leonard, Brian’s older sister and Fifty-five years ago, I was 7 years old and a first grader at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic School. I was sandwiched between 2 older and 2 younger brothers and desperately was hoping our parent’s newest baby would be a girl. However, that wasn’t God’s plan, but I couldn’t be disappointed long when I met my newest brother with the most beautiful blue eyes and angelic face. He was my beautiful boy, my little ‘Bri-Bri’ and I was his ‘Tee Tee’, who he would flee to often for protection from normal sibling squabbles, yelling ‘Help, Tee-Tee help!’ I would snuggle him into my arms and protect him from whatever torment, real or imagined, was bothering him. Sometimes I think he just wanted a hug!
I could not protect him from his last torment, but I am glad he did finally come back to be with me and most of our extended family in Phoenix a month ago. It was a tender and intimate time and he let me and my siblings, our kids and spouses be free with hugs and kisses, back rubs and snuggles and beard brushing sessions. He finally let himself be free of the responsibilities of home and work to focus as we all did, on trying to heal and find comfort from increasing pain. It was a month in which we knew in each moment what we were to do with our time and that is something we almost never have in our lives. It was the best spent month of my life. We had an intense focus and God gave us the strength to just be there for our B-man. I am so grateful for all my siblings for helping to take care of Brian at the end, but especially to my husband Mike and son Benny, who couldn’t do enough to help with his care, even assisting him to enjoy some time in the Jacuzzi to ease his pain and help bring a twinkle back to his beautiful blue eyes for a moment or two.
Growing up, we were a big, noisy, loving Catholic family. In today’s world, I don’t think many young couples would entertain the thought of adding to their family after already having five living children, especially since the last one arrived with severe physical disabilities. But after Brian my generous and fearless parents also welcomed my sister (finally a sister!) and so we were seven kids on earth with one little brother, Gregory, in heaven having passed away five months into my mom’s pregnancy. But our big family didn’t take up a large footprint. I recently visited our old house in Des Moines, IA and couldn’t believe how small it was and that it only had one bathroom! We also had only one TV, one big station wagon, and we gardened and canned food and had a brilliant stay- at- home mom who happily dedicated herself to forming us to love, to share, to accept those who had less, and to be welcoming to all. Our dad worked a lot, but managed to keep us clothed and fed, though we wore lots of hand me downs! It was recycling at its best!
Part of being in a big family meant that the older kids helped to watch and raise the younger kids. That suited me fine as the older sister, especially to the two youngest- Brian and Kerry, who we lovingly called ‘the twerps’. When I was in junior high and high school, I used to bring Brian along with me on Saturdays and after school where I introduced him to the West High Drama Club’s backstage work and he “helped us” on the stage crew as we created sets. I think that may have given him that first shot of grease paint into his blood!
Being out among older people seemed perfectly normal to Brian and taking buses with us led to him taking buses by himself or with his friends. We were astounded to know our kid brother was riding the free U of I campus buses around town to satisfy his sense of adventure whenever he could give the slip to one of us older kids who were supposed to be watching him.
Last Sunday Brian told us not to worry because he intended to live another month. But he gave us the slip again only a few hours later and left a giant hole in all our hearts. We will keep them filled with his memories and savor the stories about a man who loved expansively and enjoyed life exquisitely- much more than most. Brian was generous to a fault and appreciated even the little things in life, like the little battery-operated toothbrush I put in his Christmas stocking! He was so grateful for everything and was a loyal friend and great listener.
In his final hours he told Brad and me that he saw the window open and lights there and asked us if we could see them and the children playing. His gaze was already beyond the shackles of this earth and now he has gone to Jesus, to play with those children and his beloved Anna again!
In closing, I’d like to read to you a poem that Brian composed when our dad died in 1991.
A poem for dad Based on Isaiah 55:10,11
The air grows thick and heavy
as we hear the thunder in an instant.
The rain comes and waters the earth,
returns to the heavens but first remains to give birth.
And so it is with all,
all who possess and are possessed by the land,
as it is for you now:
The last hero of the brave new world,
who let steel, wood, and glass be transformed by your hand.
And it is apparent and self-evident that you
were touched by the Great God, by a woman’s love
and in time you accepted, one by one,
all your daughters and sons.
Rest now, or perhaps work, until your hearts delight,
with the Creator of the universe and of light.
March 1991, Brian Peterson
I think back to the fun times we shared – CA trip in summer of ’85; our lil party of five at my cousin’s condo; chats through the window of my ’77 Mustang, many youth group meetings & outings; I’m sorry I didn’t reconnect sooner, I would have liked you to meet my kids, now 20 and 22. Time passes, you go day to day taking care of family, responsibilities etc. It’s when I think of you, and how you lived your life, I’m reminded that it’s people and relationships first, all else will fall in place. While I was only in your life for a short window of time, one thing remained constant, you were and always will be the same great guy!
Til we meet again my friend