Peter Warhol, 99, a former Halfway resident, died Nov. 3, 2002, at a nursing home in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
He had elected to receive only comfort measures for pneumonia, thereby dying as he had lived: on his own terms.
A memorial service will be held November 21, in Waterloo, Iowa.
His 99-year life was remarkable for its extraordinary accomplishments. Born in Minneapolis to immigrant parents in a family of six boys, he lost his mother when he was 11, which required household chores and employment at an early age.
Because of this workload, when asked for details of his boyhood he would usually say that “it wasn’t very interesting.”
Characteristic of his lifelong independence and confidence was his attending his high school graduation from the audience. He and a friend had completed their college requirements and quit school a semester early. The administration had disagreed with their innovative program and refused to issue them diplomas.
Overcoming obstacles of finance and health, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in metallurgical engineering from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis in 1929 and began an unusually creative and distinguished career.
While working for the Butler Bros. Mining Co. he discovered the Fuller’s Earth District near Thomasville, Ga. On the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota he introduced several important mining and mineral-processing innovations still in use today.
He was president of Butler Brothers when the company was sold in 1948. He spent the next 2 years with the Leo Butler Construction Co. in Washington D.C., then joined the Ogleby Norton Co. to be in charge of the first taconite development in Minnesota.
This project included the construction of a new town of 10,000. Just the pilot (proving) plant for the mineral concentrator dwarfed any similar plant existing at the time.
Rejoining Butler Brothers in 1952, he was involved in natural gas exploration, cattle ranching, the introduction of natural gas to northern Minnesota, and the liquidation of Butler timber and mining properties in Idaho and Oregon, two of which were the Iron Dike and the Red Ledge mines on the Snake River. Attempts to develop these mines had first brought him to Eastern Oregon and created his high regard for the area.
He served for 19 years as a key trustee of the Hazelden Foundation, the first and foremost center for the treatment of alcoholism, which had been founded by Patrick Butler. Several professional activities included the presidency of the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology Alumni Association.
His technical expertise and financial judgement benefited whatever church or civic organization he joined.
After retiring for several years in Minneapolis, he and his wife, Martha, lived for three years at Laguna Hills, Calif. They then moved to Halfway to be with their daughter, Patricia, and son-in-law, Tony Sowers. He enjoyed his new friends and new community.
Survivors include his daughter, Patricia; sons Warren and Richard; 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pine Valley Presbyterian Church or to Granite Peaks Assisted Living in Halfway.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, November 22, 2002
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor