Carl Heinz Petersen, Sr.

Carl Heinz Petersen, Sr., or “Opa,” as he was known to his children, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 26, 2022. He was 89 years old and would have turned 90 on April 3.

Carl was born to Carl and Margarete Petersen on April 3, 1932, in Hattstedt, Germany. He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Lena Powell Petersen; three brothers, Jens Petersen, Albert Petersen, and Johannes Petersen; and a daughter-in-law, Sonya Phillips Petersen. He is survived by his three sons, Carl Heinz Petersen, Jr. of Jonesboro, Louisiana; Forrest Petersen and wife Jo of Quitman, Louisiana; and Chris Petersen and fiancé Celeste of Plano, Texas.

Opa had seven grandchildren: Casey Petersen and wife Michelle of Wake Forest, North Carolina; Isaiah Petersen and wife Amelia of Seattle, Washington; Jessica Fuller and husband Brandon of Monroe, Louisiana; Grace Jones and husband Jeremy of Alice, Texas; Sarah Self and husband Quentin of Renton, Washington; Samantha Mercer and husband Adam of Ruston, Louisiana; and Joanna Petersen of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Opa was also blessed with 10 great-grandchildren: Gracie, Adelae, Zeke, and Lyndee Petersen of Wake Forest, North Carolina; Sawyer and Lila Mercer of Ruston, Louisiana; Faith Mathisen and husband Wesley of Alice, Texas; and Elijah, Hope, and Noah Jones of Alice, Texas.

There will be a time of visitation for friends on Sunday, March 27, 2022 in the chapel of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home from 3:00-5:00PM. The funeral service will be held at Sweetwater Baptist Church in Quitman, Louisiana on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 10:30AM. Bro. Randy Dark, pastor of McDonald Baptist Church in Jonesboro, will officiate. Burial will follow in the church cemetery under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home.

Carl Petersen came to the United States in October of 1951 when he was 19 years old. His parents approved of his decision because, at the time, Russia was threatening to invade Germany, and they wanted him to take advantage of any opportunity for a better life. His father’s brother, Siegfried Petersen, owned a farm in Iowa and sponsored his passage to the U.S. At the time, Carl could not speak any English, so by December his uncle had him enrolled in a first-grade class at the local elementary school. He remained with the class until May of the next year.

At his uncle’s urging, a couple of years later, Carl signed up for military service and was drafted into the Army. After completing basic training, he was sent to Ft. Stewart, Georgia, and worked in the motor pool. He was then assigned to Special Services and began to drive servicemen to USO dances in Brunswick and Savannah. This is where he first noticed a pretty girl named Lena. They talked and danced and got along well. He was impressed that she had been to college, had a good job, and owned her own car. They began dating and went to many dances together. When Carl didn’t have access to a vehicle, he would hitchhike to Brunswick to see Lena.

Upon his discharge from the Army in April of 1955, Carl secured a job in Birmingham, Alabama, and he married Lena on June 5, 1955. Carl and Lena soon moved to Atlanta. He worked for several companies before being hired by Continental Can, where he worked for over 10 years while helping raise three sons. When the mill manager was transferred to Continental Can in Jonesboro, Louisiana, he asked Carl to come along as an electrical supervisor. Carl later became maintenance superintendent and worked for 25 years before retiring.

Carl and Lena renewed their love for dancing by becoming active in square dancing for many years. It was not unusual for them to attend a dance several nights a week. They also traveled to Germany as often as possible over the years to visit Carl’s family until declining health prevented them from doing so. Carl’s love of sweets was no secret. He believed there should always be a dessert in the house, ready to serve up and enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Opa strived to teach his family and those around him the value of hard work and the way to do a job the right way the first time. Above all, Opa’s life reflected his relationship with Jesus Christ, and he and Oma were in church as long as their bodies physically allowed.


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