Rev. James C. Peterson

Granville, NY – James Clement Peterson (1945-2020), son of Clement and Doris Peterson of Scarsdale, NY, attended Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science but realized in his junior year that he wanted to “serve the people, not build bridges for the people”.  He transferred to and graduated from Upsala College in East Orange, NJ, in pursuit of a career that would lead him on a path to help others.  After graduation from Upsala, he attended Crozier Seminary in Pennsylvania.  After receiving his Master of Divinity degree, he was ordained in 1971 by the Fabius Baptist Church, which he had served during his final seminary year, and the American Baptist Churches of NYS. The Reverend Mr. James Peterson then served the Delphi Falls United Church for two years along with the Fabius Baptist Church.

In obedience to God’s subsequent calls, Pastor Jim served the Baptist Church in Magnolia NJ, Frankford Baptist Church in Philadelphia PA, Fairview Community Baptist Church in Camden NJ, and then West Hoosick Baptist in Hoosick NY.   In addition to shepherding those Church families, he was a volunteer fireman in Fabius, Magnolia, and West Hoosick.  As he said, “When you live next to the fire station, you wake up when the siren goes off.  You are awake, so you might as well help.”

In 1995 Jim and family moved to Granville NY to be the Pastor for the Granville Baptist Church. In 2010 he added to his clerical duties by becoming Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Whitehall NY.  Both Jim and his family have been grateful for the support and encouragement of the two congregations to reach out into the community in service to individuals and  organizations, supporting the work of other church and community leaders and simply being ‘the pastor on the street’.

He has been a dedicated and committed member of the Granville Lions for the past 25 years.  Lion James has worked tirelessly in support of the many initiatives sponsored by the Granville Lions Club: Chairman of the Sight and Hearing Committee, Board Member, Membership Chair, active supporter of the 4th of July Kids Day and the annual blood drive. He has been the member of the eastern Washington county unit of the Salvation Army who receives calls for help and is authorized to sign vouchers for food and fuel for the needy.  He has been President of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and actively participates as a member of the Granville Area Chamber.   In a ‘churchier’ vein, Pastor Jim was a prime mover in organizing ecumenical Baccalaureate Services, World Day of Prayer events, and Vacation Bible School in both Whitehall and Granville.

Area individuals in need of food, glasses, heating fuel or just a ride to a medical appointment or the store knew that they could call Pastor Jim and he would point them to or provide them with the emergency help so needed in today’s world.

Family was very important to James, who was married to his faithful wife Sara Jane (Sally) (Godshall) Peterson for over fifty years.  Together they raised two daughters, Rebecca (Peterson) Armitage and Abigail (Peterson) Wald.  He was a father to many, including sons-in-law and both short term and long-term foster children, many of whom still consider themselves family and keep in touch. Jim loved to spoil his grandchildren, all of whom grew up in nearby Whitehall, allowing him to see them regularly, feed them chocolate freezer pops in their highchairs, and provide them with spending money for Edwards’ Market gum and candy runs.  Jim kept in regular contact with his only sister, Margaret (Peg) Peterson, with whom he shared fond family memories and a passionate love of the Lord.

James is now celebrating and singing praises in Heaven with his Lord, a blessed assurance which brings solace in this time of mourning.  He leaves behind his wife Sally, his older daughter Becky and her husband Rick Armitage, his younger daughter Abby and her husband Andre Wald, and foster sons Dakota and Allen Morgan.  He leaves his grandchildren Rebecca (Tharu) and her husband Craig Franklin, Noah Armitage and his girlfriend of seven years Amanda Leili, Adam Armitage, and Emma Armitage, Logan Wald, Sophia Wald, and Evan Wald.  He leaves behind his sister Peg, her children Christie and Jim, and their families. A great void will be felt in all their hearts and the hearts of many hundreds in his church families and local communities.  He will be incredibly missed, as evidenced by the steady stream of visitors who came day and night to his hospital room in the ICU at Glens Falls Hospital to cry, pray, laugh, sing hymns, share stories, hug the family, and anoint Jim with oil.

The family wishes to thank their church and local communities as well as their friends and family who came from near and far to support them during this difficult time and continue to support them.  Additionally, they are grateful for the excellent care Jim received from staff at the hospital.

Donations in Jim’s memory should be directed to Granville Baptist Church, Whitehall Baptist Church, or to the Greater Glens Falls Salvation Army designated for use by the Granville Service Unit.  No calling hours or funeral are scheduled at this time.

Online condolences may be made at



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