Obituary: Jay K. Peterson, Sept. 26, 1945, to May 18, 2018

Jay K. Peterson passed away suddenly after a brief illness on May 18, 2018; he was 72. He was born Sept. 26, 1945, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the son of Lee and Marie Peterson.

Jay graduated from Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, going on to receive his Juris doctor, also from the University of Minnesota. Jay began practicing law in 1971 in Minnesota.

Jay moved to Vail in 1972 and began his long and esteemed legal career. Jay specialized in real estate zoning and land use issues primarily in the town of Vail. Jay’s fingerprints are on many of the real estate developments in Vail and he was a great contributor to the history and dynamics of Vail. His ability to meld the needs of the owner with the needs of the town was instrumental in so many projects coming to fruition. Jay also was a partner in the development and ownership of several Vail and Avon real estate properties. Additionally, he was a partner in several Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships.

Jay’s favorite pastimes included his long motorcycle rides and the years he and Lisa spent on their boat, aptly named Paradise Found, in the Sea of Cortez. He was also an avid motor racing fan from his early days of racing himself, to watching his sons race, to even encouraging his daughter to take a drag-racing class, to simply enjoying watching a race on television. But most especially, Jay loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. Nothing brought him more joy than to see his children grow into the amazing adults they have become.

He was an especially loyal and giving friend to many. He was always available to give sound advice or to lend a helping hand. He will be remembered as one of the gentlest, kindest and generous husband and father. He was a true gentleman.

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He is survived by his wife, Lisa Dillon, and his children, Matt Dillon and his girlfriend, Allie O’Connor, of Boulder; Anna Peterson Macsalka and her husband, Joey, of Manhattan Beach, California; and Brandon Peterson and his wife, Shannon, of Wolcott; and his four grandchildren: Senna Grace Peterson, Indy Jane Peterson, Mary Alice Macsalka and Joseph Jay Macsalka. He is also survived by his sister, Renee Peterson and her husband, Roger Shapiro. He also leaves many dear friends.

Jay was adamant that no service or funeral be held so the family will be hosting a party to celebrate his life. The celebration will be held Saturday, July 7. Further details will be released by the family at a later time.

Donations in Jay’s memory may be made to Walking Mountains Science Center, PO Box 9469, Avon, CO 81620; or contact Patty White at 970-688-4164 or

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