Bob Peterson passed away peacefully on Friday, December 3, 2010. He was the owner of the Blue Dragon bookstore in Ashland, Ore., for 25 years. He loved books, and enjoyed serving the community by offering fine reading and access to information about society and culture. His goal was to transform community through recycling books, literature and elevating consciousness. Bob had a deep understanding of all the books he sold and knew the location of all 40,000 books in his store. He loved jazz and played jazz music in the store, often his favorites, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sarah Vaughn.
Bob was a fifth degree Black Belt in Aikido, studying and teaching classes at Aikido of Ashland, as well as studying at Siskiyou Aikikai and Aikido, of Berkeley, Calif. He used the disciplined practice of Aikido, to focus his energy, and become a peaceful warrior. He was deeply connected to nature and loved to backpack, hike, cross-country ski, and spend time at the beach. He used permaculture techniques for vegetable gardening, and cooked up healthy meals.
Robert Arthur Sylvester was born to Olivia and Frank Sylvester, on January 9, 1940, in Chicago, Ill. After his father died, his mother remarried and his stepfather lovingly adopted him, changing his name to Peterson. His older brother, Frank (deceased), enjoyed the out of doors with Bob, and did a lot of book dealing with him. His younger brother, Greg (Sammie), survives, living in Texas.
Bob served in the Air Force in Japan, starting a lifelong interest in Japanese culture. During college he was married, but divorced after several years. After living in Japan for a year, he settled in the Bay Area, and worked for the City of Richmond. Bob met his wife, Kate Nehrbass, who survives, in Baja California in 1976. They traveled together to Nepal, Europe, New Zealand, and several times again to Mexico.
Bob was also the co-owner of The Scenic View B&B, which he ran with Kate, from 1980 to 1983. Their son, Galen (survives), born in 1980, was inspired by his dad's love for music and social justice, and does revolutionary social work, arts activism, and social innovation projects in the Bay Area.
The family would like to thank the caregivers who helped Bob, and the staff at Home of One Heart, all of whom made such a difference. Ashland Hospice was wonderful. If you wish to make a contribution in Bob's name, you can support the work of his son, by donating to United Roots, a youth center in Oakland, Calif., that Galen co-founded and coordinates. Go to www.unitedrootsoakland.org, click the donate button and dedicate to Bob Peterson. To make local donations, please contribute to the Kipp Crawford fund at Ashland High for Jazz Musicians, ASF Kipp Crawford Fund, 100 Walker Ave, Ashland, OR 97520, and state that it is in Bob's memory, or go online to ashlandschoolsfoundation.org
A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 8, 2011, at 3:00 p.m., at the Ashland Community Center on Windburn Way, celebrating his birthday. We hope to spend a little time in the park and will have a potluck after the memorial.