Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Lowell Stensen Petersen; 1927-2014: Ottawa County prosecutor was known for his loyalty




PORT CLINTON — Lowell Stensen Petersen, a former Port Clinton city solicitor and longtime Ottawa County prosecutor, died May 30 at the Edgewood Manor Nursing Center in Port Clinton. He was 86.

His health had declined gradually since he suffered a stroke in 2003, son John S. Petersen said.

The elder Mr. Petersen, who was born in Port Clinton in 1927, served as city solicitor between 1954 and 1965, and as a county prosecutor between 1965 and 1985 and between 1990 and 1996. He unsuccessfully ran in 1985 for county probate judge.

Mark Mulligan, the current Ottawa County prosecutor, described him as a methodical lawyer who won the majority of the cases they worked on together.

“He wasn’t overly erudite or verbose. He could connect with the jury,” Mr. Mulligan said.

After studying at the Great Lakes Naval Academy and serving in the Navy in California between 1945 and 1946, Mr. Petersen received an honorable discharge. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1949, and went on to complete a law degree in 1952.

He returned to the city where he grew up and opened a private practice a few blocks from his home. Dressed in a suit and fedora, he would wave at people as he walked to work, his daughter recalled. Always a family man, he made it back home for tuna-sandwich lunches made by his wife, Elaine.

He met his wife when they were students at OSU, and they married on September 11, 1948. She passed away a year before him, on February 7, 2013.

Mr. Petersen maintained the private practice while working part-time for the city and the county.

“The family roots run deep in Port Clinton,” his son said, and Mr. Petersen became a fixture in the community over his many decades of service.

David Boldt, an assistant prosecutor for Ottawa County, said Mr. Petersen had a thoughtful, laid-back manner.

“He didn’t take a back seat to anybody in court,” Mr. Boldt said.

Carol Flick, an assistant administrator for Ottawa County who worked as a paralegal for Mr. Petersen, said that even after reviewing similar cases hundreds of times in his career, he treated the victims of each one with care.

“He was a man that was very cognizant of the tragedy that brought people in front of him,” Mrs. Flick said. “If anybody who came in off the street had a question, their concerns were as important to him as if a judge, a county commissioner, or an elected official were calling him.”

His children described his loyalty to his clients, from whom he accepted items such as record players when they did not have the money to pay him.

When he was not at work, Mr. Petersen spent much of his time sailing on Lake Erie. He was a member of the Port Clinton Yacht Club, for which his father had served as commodore, and he took part in many races.

“There was no doubt when we were on board who was the captain,” said his son, who described sailing to South Bass Island as a child.

Mr. Petersen also served as a Sunday school teacher and the president of the council for St. John Lutheran Church, which his son described as “a second home.”

Surviving are his daughter, Carol Mitchell; son, John S. Petersen; grandchildren, Jack Mitchell and Erica Bible; and great-granddaughter, Tessa Bible.

There will be a gathering on June 3 at the Gerner-Wolf-Walker Funeral Home at 2 p.m. and a memorial service at 3 p.m. Burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery in a private ceremony.

The family suggests that donations be made to St. John Lutheran Church or Stein Hospice.

Contact Maya Averbuch at: or 419-724-6522.

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