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Nature 46


Eric Lowell Peterson

February 27, 1990 ~ March 29, 2018 (age 28)

Eric Lowell Peterson


Eric was the oldest of two sons of David & Patricia (Sponenburg) Peterson.  Eric was born February 28, 1990 in Puyallup, Washington at Good Samaritan Hospital.  Eric started having seizures when he was about six months old.  The early years of Eric’s life were difficult as he didn’t progress with the others his age.  Eric had two outstanding teachers in the Puyallup School District Pam (Fujimura) Gargett and Sherilynn Garlick .  Eric was also a client of the Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Center for many years.  We would like to thank Steve Shores for creating many special devices to help Eric.  When Eric’s brother Adam was born, Steve created a modification to Eric’s wheelchair to hold Adam’s car seat.  Eric’s special caregivers were Pam Gargett, Sherilyn Garlick, Lori Brees, Holly McMullen, Leif Ignacio and his brother Adam. 

We would also like to thank Dave’s parents, Janet and Lowell Peterson, for all their support over the years.  Lowell also created many pieces of special equipment for Eric.  Lowell provided care for Eric for many years.  They spent many hours together gardening, walking and watching videos.

Although Eric was unable to walk, talk, or care for himself, don’t feel sad for him or his family.  Eric was love and Eric was loved.  Eric was able to express his likes and dislikes.  When Eric was happy, we were happy.  Eric loved to watch his Sesame Street and Disney Sing Along videos.  He loved to go for walks and car rides.  Going to the mall or Fred Meyer was always a big hit.  Eric had a special Whirly-Gig garden outside the family room window.  It had Disney characters and many items that moved in the wind.  He loved to watch them while he was being fed.

Traveling with Eric was a unique and complicated experience, but once we established a routine we traveled a lot.  3 trips to Walt Disney World, 6 to Disneyland, 2  trips to Aulani the Disney resort on Oahu, the east coast including Washington, D.C., Gettysburg and Niagara Falls,  San Diego, the California central coast, Arches and Canyonlands in Utah and many trips to the Oregon Coast and Whistler, British Columbia.  We would like to thank the Disney Company for their special accommodations for the needs of disabled individuals.  This allowed us to enjoy family vacations like other families.

We would also like to acknowledge the Detlef Schrempf Foundation who provided us with financial assistance to purchase Eric’s first wheelchair lift.

There are many professionals we owe special thanks to:  Jennifer Lowe, case manager for Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration; and doctors Marc Aversa, James Brown and George Makari.


Eric is survived by his parents, brother and grandparents; uncle Larry Peterson of Orange, California; aunt, Barbara Sponenburg, of Seattle; aunt and uncle Barbara and Paul Sponenburg of Lake Tapps;  cousins Elsy Pawelak and Samantha Sponenburg and great aunt Jean Carkin of Auburn.

Eric suffered cardiac arrest on March 27.  This is not uncommon in the epilepsy community.  Eric was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital.  We met with the wonderful team of Life Center Northwest, who coordinated organ donation.  We are so thankful that Eric could participate in this program and that his gifts can perhaps help the lives of others.  Eric was removed from life support at 12:30 am, March 29.

As his parents and primary caregivers we take comfort in the fact that Eric was well cared for from his first breath until his last. 

We are thankful for all the special people that Eric brought into our lives.  We will miss his smiles and noises.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the ATI Physical Therapy, child of the year.   This helps a child purchase necessary equipment insurance won’t cover.  ATI Physical Therapy, 3912 10th Street SE, #101, Puyallup, WA  98374, on the memo line write E. Peterson.

A celebration of Eric’s life will be held Saturday, May 5 at 11:00 am at Bethany Baptist Church in Puyallup.  Pastor George Bedloin officiating.

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