LaMar Petersen

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LaMar Petersen was a organist and amateur historian.

He was born on December 23, 1910, in Ogden, Utah, to Adam and Anna Petersen. He was the last of nine children and was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while he lived in Huntsville and Eden, Utah, and later Salt Lake City.

One of his sisters taught him to play the piano, which opened the path for his life. He earned money for college by working as a theater organist for silent films shown at the Tower Theatre. He trained in music at the McCune School of Music and Art where he studied piano and organ under Tracy Y. Cannon, Alexander Schreiner, and Frank W. Asper. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music and studied at the Guilmont Organ School in New York with a scholarship. He also trained at the Juilliard School of Music with noted organist Gaston M. Dethier.

For 65 years, Petersen was the organist at the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in Salt Lake City. He also taught at the University of Utah’s applied music division. With a group of musicians, he founded the Mozart School of Music in 1945. About 25 years later he began teaching private lessons in his home in Holladay, Utah. He taught music for 70 years.

Petersen also loved history and researched and wrote about Utah History and the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a member of the Advisory Board of Editors for the Utah Historical Quarterly for 18 years. He was also an honorary life member of the Utah State Historical Society. He was a founding member of the Utah Chapter of the World Federalists (later renamed Citizens for Global Solutions).

He and his wife, Faye, were the parents of six children. He died in Salt Lake City, on September 16, 2005.