Robert “Rob” Arnold Petersen passed away on Friday, March 17, 2017 at the age of 65. Rob was born on April 4, 1951 in Auburn, Washington, to Delpha and Robert W. Petersen. As a teenager, Rob became involved in showing cattle and was elected President of his 4-H club. Rob graduated from Auburn High School in 1969 and went on to attend Washington State University, where he earned a degree in business in 1973.
In his mid-20’s, his earlier love of cattle was replaced with a passion for horses. Rob took up polo and played for over 40 years. Polo was an enormous part of Rob’s life, combining his love of horses with competitive sport and camaraderie. A member of the United States Polo Association (USPA) beginning in 1982, he became active in the leadership of the organization in 2014 as the Pacific Northwest Circuit Governor and had recently joined the Nominating Committee in 2015.
“He was doing an amazing job, and he embraced the job of being a Circuit Governor” said friend and former Pacific Northwest Circuit Governor George Dill. “Rob went around to all the different clubs, he was well liked by everybody and was sensible. An excellent sportsman, he tried to solve problems in his polo district, and he tried to understand everyone and who they were. He had a good mind and came up with questions and solutions for our district and presented and represented everything intelligently.”
A longtime member of the Seattle Polo and Equestrian Club in Enumclaw, Washington, Rob reached a 2-goal handicap. “He just had a magnetic kindness and generosity to him. People were drawn to him,” said fellow Seattle Polo and Equestrian Club member Miranda Luna. “He touched everyone he met, and deeply wanted to know and care about people. Even critical feedback from him felt like compliment, he was that well-spoken and genuine,” Luna continued.
Rob was a financial advisor for 36 years, serving over half of his career in a managerial capacity. He was a highly-respected leader and a charismatic mentor and teacher in the industry as well as on the polo field. “I started playing polo in the Northwest at Washington State University,” said Sheryl Sick another Seattle Polo and Equestrian Club member. “I moved East for about seven years, and the first person I called when I moved back to Washington was Rob Petersen. He really did a lot for the polo community making an atmosphere for everyone to have a good time. He was a good guy. He always had our backs. He always had our best interests at heart. He was always a positive person around everyone in polo, and it’s a big loss for us.”
Rob was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Linda Petersen; mother, Delpha Burke; sister, Christine Devereaux; twin brother, Ron Petersen; daughters, Morgan (Ben) Craighead and Stefanie Erickson; son, Jon (Jessica) Petersen; their mother, Francie Mondin and six grandchildren.
A celebration of Rob´s life will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 9:00am ET (12:00pm PT) at Mt. Rainier Christian Center at 43801 244th Ave SE in Enumclaw, Washington.
“If I was a horse, I would want to be Rob’s horse,” recounted Luna. “They were the most well cared for horses in the Northwest. He absolutely loved them and knew every one of them,” Luna continued. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Rob to a local Horse Rescue such as Safehorses.org or Equineaid.org.
The USPA Fall Meetings will take place in Portland, Oregon, largely due to the efforts of Rob Petersen who was looking forward to showcasing his beautiful circuit. “He was excited about the USPA Fall Meetings coming here. He had been working on that,” said Dill. “We are all saddened by the loss of Rob. As a board member of the USPA and a Circuit Governor he was always insightful and helped to grow the sport of polo. We are proud to have called him a friend,” said USPA Chairman Joseph Meyer. Rob made his mark on the lives and hearts that he touched with his wit, his infectious laughter and his always-welcoming demeanor. The USPA along with the entire polo community would like to extend our sympathy to Rob Petersen’s family and friends during this difficult time. An inspiration to all who knew him, Rob will continue to live on in our hearts.