Cover photo for Jan Harris Peterson's Obituary
Jan Harris Peterson Profile Photo
1946 Jan 2024

Jan Harris Peterson

May 31, 1946 — March 12, 2024

Beloved Husband, Father, Friend Jan Harris Peterson was born on May 31, 1946. Parents Virgil Vance and Audrey Harris Peterson were overjoyed to adopt him into their young family. He joined older siblings Mark and Marcia in their Denver home.


Audrey named Jan after a famous musician, Jan Paderewski, whose music she loved to play. As a child, he liked music, especially Elvis Presley and Eddie Fisher. In 1950, the family moved to Salt Lake City. School was a challenge for Jan, who struggled to read. However, he was talented at working with his hands. He liked to assemble and fix things. He enjoyed making things, and once built himself a bicycle.


Jan really enjoyed visiting family in Richmond, Utah because they lived on a farm and had horses. He rode a pony named Old Billy and became very attached to him. He asked his parents for a horse, and finally got one. He loved to ride.


Jan was in the scouting program and got to raft the Green River and go hiking. He always enjoyed being outdoors.


As a teenager, Jan was a bit of a rebel, who loved motorcycles and had an Indian chopper. Rumor has it that he once hit a horse on his bike and was out of commission for quite a while.


Jan married Linda Reid in 1963, when he was eighteen. They had two daughters, Tami, and Shelly, but later divorced.


Jan did not see the girls much for years, but later in life, got to know Shelly Tripp and her children. He

introduced Shelly to her future husband Dale, who worked with him as a welder on the railroad. He was proud and grateful to have her in his life.


In 1964, Jan joined the National Guard and went to basic training at Fort Ord, California. Later, Jan began working for Union Pacific Railroad, and stayed there for a thirty-year career. He worked his way from being on a section gang, to being a welder.


Around 1966, Jan met and married Judy Ann Washenfelder. She had three sons from a former marriage: Kenneth, John, and Frankie. Jan taught the boys to love the outdoors. Together, they fished,

hunted, and camped in the Uinta’s. Jan and Judy later divorced, but the boys continued to consider Jan their father, and still carried his last name.


Jan married Judy Ann Graff in December of 1981. She had three sons, Douglas, Brian, and Jeffrey. Jan

was close to them and enjoyed their company. Judy passed away in September 2000.


After a time, Jan met the love of his life, Janice. They married on March 12, 2001, and began a happy life together. They enjoyed being at home together, having barbecues, working in their house and yard,

and spending time with family. Jan quickly learned to love Janice’s children, Joseph (Lettie), James, Ted, Thomas (Peggy), and Summer.


Jan helped Janice endure the tragic loss of Summer and her baby daughter Aaliyah. He mourned with her and her sons.


He truly loved all his biological and unofficially adopted children and grandchildren. He always made them his.


Jan also loved his sister Marcia, and her husband Eugene Gronning. They were close friends to the end. He missed his brother Mark after he passed away in 2008, and Mark’s wife Nancy, after she died in 2009.


After Jan and Janice retired, Jan found happiness working on his trailer and truck, gardening, doing leather work, and making jerky. He still camped in the Uinta’s, often on his own. His sons enjoyed it when he joined them to camp and hunt.


Jan’s daughter Shelly gave him a huge gift by locating his biological sisters through DNA matching. Jan got to meet his sisters Sharon, Peggy, and Christy. Although his biological parents had passed on, he finally knew who they were and what they looked like. He was so happy to get to know his sisters and find out about his birth family.


Jan’s health was poor for the last few years, and he suffered the ravages of cancer and heart disease. He

was a fighter though. He never gave up. He hung on as long as he could, not wanting to leave Janice.


On Tuesday, March 11th , 2024, Jan passed away at the Davis Holy Cross Hospital in Layton, Utah. He was 77 years old. This was on the day of his anniversary to his sweetheart Janice.


He will be missed by his wife and all his extended family. Jan was preceded in death by his parents Virgil and Audrey Peterson, daughter Summer Elliott, granddaughter Aaliyah Elliott, Janice’s son, Wayne Jr., brother Mark Peterson, sister-in-law Nancy Peterson, nephew Tig Peterson, son John Peterson, and son Frankie Peterson.


Services entrusted to Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jan Harris Peterson, please visit our flower store.


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