In the CU Professionals Spotlight: Meet Jerry Peterson
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist

Jerry Peterson grew up on a farm north of the town of Burke, South Dakota, in the south-central part of the state, west of Sioux Falls and not far from the Missouri River and the Nebraska border. The family worked hard, raising cattle, hogs, and grains. He was the youngest of five children, and had four older sisters that he attended classes with in a one-room schoolhouse. For eight years, he had the same teacher, Arliss Peterson, whom he shared with all the other students. “She taught us to be good public speakers, as well as how to get along with everyone,” he recalled.

Later, he attended high school in Burke with a class of about 50 students. He was active in many sports, including track, football, and cross country running, but he especially excelled at distance running. He even held several school records in running, which remained unbroken for 24 years following his graduation.

Jerry first became involved with credit unions in 1985, when he and his young wife purchased appliances from the local Cenex in Gregory, South Dakota. Cenex was the sponsor of Consumer’s Federal Credit Union, and offered a finance plan for the purchase, which prompted him to join. However, he was soon won over by the friendly service he received.

In 1993, as a member in good standing, he was approached to fill a vacancy in the board of directors at the credit union, which he accepted. The following annual meeting, he was elected to a full term, and has been serving as a board member there ever since.

“I enjoy being involved in the credit union movement,” says Peterson, “With the members as the owners, it is very rewarding being associated with other volunteers, employees, and managers, while at the same time, meeting the challenges of regulations, competition, and the requests of younger members,” he added. It is especially satisfying for Peterson to note that Consumer’s FCU has experienced continued growth every year that he has served as a board member.

In addition to serving on the board at Consumer’s FCU, Peterson is a past board member for the South Dakota League, and says he was privileged to serve during the consolidation of the two Dakota leagues, a very long and intricate undertaking. He has subsequently served on the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) board, and was most recently elected once again as a board member this past April during the CUAD Summit. His new term will run until 2022.

In addition to his current roles on the credit union boards, Peterson twice served as President of the South Dakota County Officials Board, and held various other offices on the board there for 17 years. He is a current board member of the Burke Community Development Corporation, president of the Burke Community Pharmacy Corporation board, a board member of the Gregory County Historical Society, and Dallas Cares, a local charitable organization.

Jerry retired in December of 2018, after serving as the Gregory County Register of Deeds for 36 years. He has been married to his wife, Elaine, for 47 years, and they have four children: Three daughters and one son, all married; and 14 wonderful grandchildren. (Their youngest daughter, Dannielle Miller, is the manager of Consumer’s Federal Credit Union.) All of Jerry’s daughters are distance runners, just like their dad!

In his free time, Jerry enjoys camping, helping his sons-in-law with ranch work, and cheering on the grandchildren in their many activities. With Elaine recently retired from a 28 year career at Social Services, the couple is looking forward to travelling more.

“Each person has their own definition of being successful,” concludes Peterson. “My definition is not awards I have received, but our great family, the many friends we have, and also the great people I have met in the last 35 years of my involvement in the credit union movement.”





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