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Robert E. Petersen dies at 80 years old.

Published Mar 25th 2007, 4:50am by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Robert E.PetersenI first came to work for Mr. Petersen as a baby, fresh out of college. I missed finals to report to work at “Guns and Ammo” Magazine in May of 1986, and didn’t have a clue then that I would call Petersen Publishing my home (even though it was sold and changed names several times) for nearly 18 years.

Mr. Petersen died Friday March 23, 2007, of complications from neuroendocrine cancer at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, according to Dick Messer, director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. I must say that I had no idea his passing would affect me so deeply. Mr. Petersen was a self-made man, who loved his hobbies, and whose wealth allowed him to make his avocation into his vocation; he was my employer for nearly half my professional career. As I read of his passing in the news, I am drawn to tears. He was a man of legend, who created an automotive and publishing dynasty. He created dozens of magazines and a museum as part of his legacy starting with Hot Rod in 1948, followed quickly by Motor Trend in 1949. In addition to his publishing businesses, he was well-known for his real estate and aviation businesses, as well as his involvement in myriad community/charity groups.

I spent more than 10 years with his premier title, Motor Trend Magazine, and always felt, even though he was no longer ‘the boss’, that it was ‘his’ magazine.

Robert E. Petersen was a ‘car guy’ and a gentleman whose hobbies were also his life-giving force. His company gave me my entrée into publishing, and 21 years later, I can say that I am a journalist because of the opportunities provided to me through Mr. Petersen. And I must give him one final “thank you” for all the opportunities I have encountered as a part of his legacy.

Please honor this great man by reading more about him at  and at the Los Angeles Times

by Brandy A. Schaffels

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