Town loses popular employee

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Peterson dies of natural causes

By Stan Welch

The Town of Williamston tragically lost one of its best and most popular employees last week, with the sudden passing of Bruce Peterson. Peterson passed away at his home in the early hours of Friday morning, of natural causes.

Peterson, who was hired in 2004 by former police chief Troy Martin, moved into the town’s administrative department during the town’s financial difficulties during the Clardy and Crout administrations. His calm demeanor, and his willingness to tackle any task made him an invaluable worker, according to town clerk Michelle Starnes, who was visibly upset at the news of Peterson’s death.

“Bruce was the assistant clerk treasurer for several years, and he was so dependable, so reliable. If you gave him a job, you could stop worrying about it. He was a sweet and gentle man. I never heard him say a harsh word about anyone, and no one had a harsh word to say about him. We will miss him so much, as a co-worker and a friend.”

In 2014, not too long after Mayor Durham took office, Peterson asked to return to the police department, where he was the IT person, as well as handling reports to SLED, and the department’s crime statistics. He also set up the officers’ body cams and software to get that system up and running.

Chief Tony Taylor said that Peterson had attended the Criminal Justice Academy for special training in his specific duties. “Bruce was just a tremendous asset to this department. Calm, level headed, and the very definition of dependable. If I gave him a task, I never had to check behind him. I never had to motivate him. He was a self starter, and a go getter. He will be greatly missed by the Williamston Police Department, and those he worked with. “

Mayor Durham echoed those thoughts, saying that Peterson was a sweet, gentle person, who always treated others with courtesy. “He was so soft spoken, but people listened because he always knew what he was talking about. He was just so reliable. You don’t realize how much it means to have someone that you can assign a task to and just forget about it, knowing that it will get done and get done right. He was such an important part of so many aspects of the town and the police department’s operation that he will be terribly missed.”

Peterson had been ill earlier in the week with a virus and was told by his doctor to go home and rest. Starnes said that any time he took time off it was serious. “He never took sick days. Like everything else, you could count on Bruce to be there every day. We knew if Bruce stayed home, he was really ill, but this has been a complete shock. We are all so sad that he is gone.”