Gaither Dawson “Pete” Peden, Jr., 89, of Woodstock, GA, passed away Thursday, December 23, 2021. Pete was born on June 23, 1932 to Gaither D. Peden, Sr and Anna S. Peden in Cincinnati, OH. He grew up in Mount Washington, Ohio, a beautiful suburb located on the east side of Cincinnati.
Pete attended Withrow High School where he was very active in Sports, Men’s Glee Club, Fraternities, and Socializing. After graduating in 1950, he joined the U.S. Air Force as a Sr. Communications Installer for the 155th Tactical Control Group, stationed throughout Eastern Europe. After the service, he began to study Architecture, however exposure to the funeral industry as a youth and during his military duties, revealed his true calling and Pete decided to attend the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Following graduation in 1955, his parents and sister, Katherine moved to Miami, Florida where Pete began his apprenticeship in the funeral industry, mastering his trade along-side many of the largest funeral home owners in South Florida. His enthusiasm and natural leadership abilities soon led Pete to opening his first funeral home. Before long, a second location was opened, and Pete quickly became the youngest funeral home owner in the State of Florida. He was an extremely hard worker, dedicated and determined to provide for his family and give them the life they deserved.
Alongside the growth of his family and a successful funeral home business, Pete’s recognition in the community developed quickly through his continued leadership in many Professional and Social organizations, such as Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, Rotary Club and Optimist Club, to name a few.
In 1983, Pete met his wife, Rita and the storybook romance he had always hoped for was born. Along with his daughter, Rosanne and sons, Gaither III and Sean, he welcomed Rita’s daughter, Jennifer and son, James into the Peden family with open arms. In 1986, they moved to Atlanta, GA to join Rita’s immediate family. Pete soon returned to the ministry that was his calling, by purchasing an existing funeral home, naming it the Medford-Peden Funeral Home, located in Marietta, Georgia. In 2018, with over 60 years in the industry, he finally retired with his Bride.
Pete touched the lives of so many, described by all who knew him as nothing but kind, loving, caring, warm, amazing and was always a source of positivity. He never knew a stranger and would always make you feel welcomed. He will be missed more than words can say.
He is survived by his wife, Rita Mary Peden of Woodstock, GA; his four children, Rosanne Peden Patterson of Miami, FL, Gaither D. Peden III of W Palm Beach, FL, Sean Peden of Clearwater, FL and James R. Minor of Kansas City, MO; 12 Grandchildren, 2 Great-Grandchildren, many extended family and an abundance of friends. Preceding him in death was his daughter, Jennifer Minor Kusterbeck of Atlanta, GA.
The family will receive visitors Wednesday, December 29, at 7:00pm with a Prayer Service following at 7:30pm at Medford-Peden Funeral Home Chapel, Marietta, 770-427-8447.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00pm, Thursday, December 30, at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Woodstock, GA with Rev. Fausto Marquez presiding. Interment will follow at Kennesaw Memorial Park in Marietta, Ga.