In this issue:
Phil Peterson: A Life of Selfless, Committed Service
Last Monday the College of Law lost a long-time, revered colleague, the Idaho State Bar lost a respected and trusted member, and we all lost a selfless, committed citizen. On December 29, 2003, Philip E. Peterson passed away in Lewiston, Idaho from complications arising from pneumonia. Phil was a professor at the College of Law from 1952 until his retirement in 1990 and served as Dean from 1961-1966. Phil's impact on the State of Idaho has been enormous - 38 years of teaching students who became the leaders of the bench, bar, and legislature, over 50 years of service to the bench, bar and legislature, and over 50 years of service to his clients as a skilled and respected lawyer.
Phil, a native of Illinois, served with the Army Air Forces as a navigator on a B-29 flight crew during World War II. Serving in the Pacific, Phil flew bombing missions over Japan, provided transport for Chinese Nationalist Leader Chiang Kai-Shek, and was even shot down over the Pacific during the war. The recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart, Phil remained in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 1966.
While stationed in Japan following the war, Phil met his wife Jeanne and they were married in 1947. Following the service, Phil returned to Illinois and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1952. Phil and Jeanne and their young family moved to Moscow following law school, and Phil began his long teaching career at the College of Law. Phil returned to Harvard Law School as a Ford Fellow in 1957-58 and received an advanced degree in tax law and estate planning.
Even before returning to Harvard, Phil established himself as the expert on tax law in the State of Idaho. Phil wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper criticizing a proposed sales tax law that caught the attention of a local state representative. The representative invited Phil to Boise to write a better law. Phil accepted the invitation, beginning a long working relationship with the Idaho State Legislature and Governor's Office. Under the direction of the Governor's Office and the State Legislature, Phil authored many of Idaho's sales and income tax laws that remain in force to this day. Phil also co-authored the Uniform Probate Code, which standardized the probate laws among the states adopting it. Idaho was the first of 18 states to adopt this important piece of legislation. In addition to his legislative drafting accomplishments, Phil participated in five arguments before the United States Supreme Court. During the course of Phil's career, his reputation as an expert in tax and estate planning extended beyond the borders of Idaho, becoming truly national in scope.
nuing legal education program, and other community organizations. Always available to his students and former students, Phil would answer questions received from lawyers around the state. Always the teacher, Phil simply could not say no to such inquiries. He volunteered his time to numerous community organizations, including service on the Board of Trustees for St. Joseph Hospital in Lewiston. Phil's commitment to the service of others extended to many facets of his community and continued throughout his life.
Phil Peterson's devotion to the law was second only to his devotion to his family. His life stands as a tribute to the highest ideals of the legal profession - integrity, service to others, and commitment to the rule of law. For over 50 years, Phil Peterson was a strong and positive influence in the State of Idaho - as teacher, scholar, legislative draftsman, lawyer and counselor, advisor and friend. He will be missed.
Peterson Scholarship Established
Dean Peterson is survived by his 6 children (including his son, Eric, the current President of the Idaho State Bar, and a 1987 graduate of the College of Law), 13 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. Dean Peterson's family has established the "Philip and Jeanne Peterson Law Scholarship" at the University of Idaho. Contributions to the scholarship fund may be sent, with notation of the College of Law/Peterson Scholarship Fund, to the University of Idaho Trust and Investment Office, P.O. Box 443143, Moscow, Idaho 83844-3143.