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In Memory

Dwight Peterson

Dwight Peterson

DECEMBER 8, 2014


PHILADELPHIA - Dwight Thomas Peterson, 66, attorney, passed away Dec. 8, 2014, from pneumonia and sepsis at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Dwight was born May 2, 1948, in Youngstown, the son of an FBI agent, Stanley E. Peterson and a school teacher, Kathryn Thomas Peterson.

He attended St. Patrick’s School in Hubbard, and graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngstown. He described his childhood as “the best,” recalling a large loving family, friends, animals, a horse named “Skyrocket,” music, and exotic cars.

Dwight graduated from St. Louis University in St. Louis and University of Memphis School of Law, in Memphis, Tenn. While in Memphis, he was noted for his Blues parties, with notable Delta Blues musicians, like Furry Lewis, and many others. He began his law practice, later known at The Peterson Law Firm, 40 years ago, with an emphasis on entertainment law. He had numerous exciting cases, including the start of “Stars Comedy Club,” and copyright infringement, like the “Me and Mrs. Jones” song, Billie Bond, and the Frankie Lymon case, where his character was depicted in the film version, “Why do Fools Fall in Love.”

Dwight will be remembered for his charismatic personality, generosity, loyalty and his unique lust for fun. He lived each moment of life to the fullest. He was an equestrian, loved fast cars, collected and raced Porsches. Summarized best by Fred B. Smith, law partner and friend: “Dwight may not have been a famous man, yet he was full of greatness. He was wild, crazy and brilliant, dancing the knife’s edge with a discipline that exhausted us. He had an uncanny ability to size someone up in 10 seconds, either ‘he’s in or he’s out’. He didn’t share in personal worlds, but drew us into his own. ‘Badly good, sadly happy,’ 'Swedishly Lebanese,’ Americanly stateless, loyal and lawless, no day too small for adventure or calamity, he beheld the world at once, fascinated and cynical; his soul spanned the full mortal range between heaven and hell. Dwight tempered our love with abrasive truth and we are the better for it. He gave us a lifetime of tales and memories; and a scale by which to weigh our own existence.”

To Dwight it could be said: “Your pessimism could not accept that final miracle for which you so devoutly yearned. Now you have it, and you chuckle at yourself, and us, relieved, from the other side. The unmistakable fire of your post-mortal existence lights the way through a dozen dimensions. We will find you again.”

He leaves his companion, Mary Jane Shultheis of Langhorne, Pa.; his brother, Dr. Gregory Peterson (Ramona) of Des Moines, Iowa; a niece, Erin P. Nathan (Christopher) of Iowa City, Iowa; a nephew, Blake Peterson of Portland, Ore.; and two great-nieces.

A memorial service and final internment will be held on his birthday, May 2, 2015, at St. Patrick Church in Hubbard.

Memorials may be given in Dwight's name to St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis.