He said what was on his mind, is how many remember former Abilene Mayor Bill Peterson.

Peterson, who served three terms as mayor of Abilene, died on Friday.

Lynn Peterson, who is not related, served with Bill on the Abilene City Commission.

“On the commission, fiscally he seemed conservative,” Peterson said. “Let’s keep things fair and equitable. He always said what was on his mind. He was very communicative and very direct.”

“He was always pretty blunt and straight forward,” said Mark Guilfoyle, also a former city commissioner. “It was good to have. He didn’t have to say a whole lot at any given time to get his point across.”

“He let you know where he stood on an issue very quickly,” said Hank Royer.

Bill and Lynn Peterson competed with each other at the ballot box. One year they tied for a 4-year-term which was decided by a coin flip.

Peterson said Bill was instrumental in getting Russell Stover Candies to Abilene.

“That was probably one of the highlights that took place that impacted Abilene in a very positive way,” Peterson said. “We were very fortunate to get Russell Stover. It was a competitive process. I think Hays was in the running and a couple other cities.”

Peterson said Bill always wanted to make Abilene a better place.

Royer said it was Bill Peterson that brought John Hier to Abilene to serve as city manager.

They worked together to fund and build the water treatment plant.

“I think John was one of our better city managers as far as looking forward,” Royer said. “He got things done. The reverse osmosis plant all happened when Bill was on the city commission. That was a forward looking thing. I think we were the first or second reverse osmosis plant in the state of Kansas. I think he and John Hier worked on that. I always applauded him for that.”

Lynn Peterson recalled Bill as being frugal when it came to budget time.

“He was good commissioner. He would just put out there exactly what he was thinking,” Peterson said. “He kept the budget in check.”

Guilfoyle said it was Bill Peterson that approached him about taking over an unexpired term on the commission.

“I really enjoyed serving with him,” he said. “He was one of my favorite guys.”

Guilfoyle recalls when Bill and his mother Bernice Peterson delivered milk to 350 local residences and businesses.

The Cedar Crest Dairy which started in 1924 had 45 Holstein cows at one time. 

“He ran the dairy,” Royer said of Bill. “I remember them delivering it to the house.”

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.


Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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