City Council remembers former Mayor Ralph Peterson Sr.

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Members of Pleasantville City Council offered their heartfelt condolences and tearful memories on Monday, June 16 to the friends and family of former Mayor Ralph Peterson Sr., who passed away last week./R.J. Liberatore Jr. Members of Pleasantville City Council offered their heartfelt condolences and tearful memories on Monday, June 16 to the friends and family of former Mayor Ralph Peterson Sr., who passed away last week./R.J. Liberatore Jr. PLEASANTVILLE - Members of City Council offered their heartfelt condolences and tearful memories on Monday, June 16 to the friends and family of former Mayor Ralph Peterson Sr., who passed away last week.

Peterson, 81, was the city’s first African-American police chief and mayor, died Thursday, June 12.

Peterson served the Pleasantville community for almost 50 years, leaving his fingerprints on nearly every street, building, and person in this city of 20,000.

His viewing will be 5-8 p.m., Sunday, June 22 at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 353 S. New Road, Pleasantville.

The viewing will continue 9-11 a.m. Monday, June 23. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m.

Ralph Peterson Jr., a world-renown musician, said in a Facebook post that he is planning a memorial service for his father.

“God bless you Ralph,” City Council President Lincoln Green said. “We love you a lot but God loves you more.”

Green, who attended high school with Peterson, recently spent an afternoon talking to life-long friend. It was about a week before the former mayor passed away.

Green said Shirley Peterson heard her husband say that “there are some things I have to tell him before I leave,” Green said.

“We had a long conversation,” Green said. “We went over all of the things we had done together.”

Green spoke about long-ago memories when he would be sitting in his father’s home, listening to Peterson play the piano.

“We went on vacations together,” said Green, who added that Peterson’s death was “very hurtful.”

Councilman William Christmas described Peterson as a man’s man.

Councilman Augustus “Gus” Harmon said he was preparing to drive to Peterson’s home to pick up the former mayor on Thursday. Peterson had wanted to personally present checks to the six students who won Ralph Peterson Education Foundation scholarships this year.

But the phone rang as Harmon prepared to leave.

“It was his wife,” Harmon said, “telling me not to come because he had passed.”

Councilman Ricky Cistrunk remembered hearing Peterson speak to residents following a violent time when there were multiple shootings in the city. Residents were all on edge.

Peterson calmed their fears and asked them to be more diligent as parents in finding out what their children were doing in an effort to stop the violence, Cistrunk said.

“He could take a situation like that and put a coolness to it,” Cistrunk said. “He touched all of us…a grandfather to the community.”
City Administrator Linda Payton said she remembered serving as an aid to Peterson when he was mayor.

During the City Council meeting in which Peyton was hired as city administrator, Peterson “sat out there in the audience to support me,” she said.

In other action:

City Council awarded a contract for $668.392 to Axios, Inc. for the reconstruction of the Lakes Bay Marina.

Peyton said FEMA will pick up 90 percent of the cost and work is expected to be completed by October.

Also, City Council awarded a $383,957.90 contract to Landberg Construction LLC for drainage improvements to Tremont Avenue and Woodside Avenue.


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