Mark Petersen, an OSEA Lifetime member from Rogue Community College Chapter 152, passed away unexpectedly on January 4. Petersen was a classified leader who believed in the power of the union to make a difference; his legacy in OSEA and the Oregon labor movement include significant achievements in his chapter, community and state.
“Mark was my mentor, friend and catalyst for my union involvement,” said OSEA President Sarah Wofford, who worked alongside Petersen in Chapter 152. “Being very human-centered, he was routinely identifying, recruiting and mentoring members that possessed leadership potential. For me, he exemplified the heart and soul of OSEA.”
Petersen was hired by Rogue Community College in 2001, where his assignments in the technology department included web development, instructional media and staffing the help desk. He was known for his friendly and caring personality with students and staff alike. His activism in OSEA began when he joined the labor-management committee in 2003. Petersen served as chapter president from 2005 to 2010 and vice president from 2010 to 2016. During this time, he was part of groundbreaking projects that connected labor unions in southern Oregon with local community groups.
In 2006, Petersen was elected Zone V director by OSEA Conference delegates, a position he held until 2010, when he was elected OSEA vice president and served until 2012. He was also involved in several state committees: Scholarship, Finance, Government Relations, Public Relations, Resolutions and AFT affiliation.
Petersen retired from Rogue Community College in 2018. That same year, he was honored by Conference delegates with Lifetime member status, OSEA’s highest recognition.
Petersen is survived by his wife, Brooke, and their son and daughter.