John B. Peterson, senior director of North America sales at Checkpoint, died of congenital heart failure on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Born in Akron, OH, on March 1, 1965, he was diagnosed at birth with the heart condition that would ultimately take his life. Doctors told his parents that he wouldn’t live past age 20. In true fashion, he beat their odds to celebrate 55 fantastic years, living each day to the fullest.
John worked with Checkpoint Systems for over three decades, earning many awards and accolades in his tenure. But above the awards, he loved to be a mentor to countless coworkers, leaving a lasting mark on both the company and the industry as a whole.
Steve Sell, who worked with John at Checkpoint, was a long-time friend and delivered the eulogy at John’s funeral in Springfield, MA. “John Peterson was a giant in our industry,” Sell told LPM. “He was always compassionate, he was a preparation genius, and he was an authentic optimist. We’ll all miss hearing the words ‘Hello, friend,’ which was his signature warm greeting to all he met.”
“John meant so much to so many people,” reflected Frank Panebianco, vice president sales ICS, NA for Checkpoint. “He was a mentor to a lot of people including me. His positivity was contagious, and he found the good in everything. I loved to ask him how he was doing so I could hear that typical JP response ‘Spectacular!’ John’s impact on my life is unmeasurable, and I am thankful and blessed to have worked side by side with him for the last 17 years.”
Joe Esposito, vice president of customer operations for Checkpoint, said, “Any positive nuance that I encounter in this world will forever remind me of John. He has had a profound influence on my life, professionally and personally and will be missed dearly.”
“John Peterson was the consummate sales professional and an leader within Checkpoint. His passion for the customer, his industry associates and his peers at Checkpoint was second to none,” commented Checkpoint’s Eric McNaul, vice president of sales and customer operations. “John’s contributions to Checkpoint over his 30-year professional career are too numerous to list. His strong leadership, his mentoring of fellow team members, and his selfless commitment to all those who surrounded him made him an exemplary person of strong character—in the business world and in his private life. We all will miss John greatly.”
According to Stuart Rosenthal, vice president of sales and marketing at Checkpoint, “John was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He was one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have had the privilege to know and work with. He never hesitated to lend a hand, offer guidance, or support. John’s passing is a devastating loss not only to Checkpoint but to his customers. John truly defined a partner. His legacy will live in all of us each day as we try to emulate what John brought to Checkpoint and our industry. My thoughts and prayers are with John’s family, friends, and coworkers. Rest in Peace my friend.”
On a personal level, John had an insatiable appetite for bettering himself. He was a first-degree black belt in Aikijujutsu, a green belt in Kung-Fu, and practiced Muay Thai Kickboxing. He started guitar lessons at age 49. He sweated through years of hot yoga classes, attending two retreats in Costa Rica with his brother Pete. He took his sons to numerous classes, learning skills from speed reading to self-defense.
John and his family moved from Ohio to Dallas before ultimately settling in Simsbury, CT. John graduated from Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, received his bachelor’s degree from Sienna College in Loudonville, NY, and his master’s degree from the University of Hartford in West Hartford.
John met his wife, Ana Paula, by chance, in a train station in Genoa, Italy, where they discovered they only lived 45 minutes away from each other. When they returned to the US, the two started a relationship that would last 35 years. There was nothing John loved more than telling their story.
A Mass of Christian Burial took place on Wednesday, December 16, at Sacred Heart Church in Springfield, MA. His full obituary and a video of the service can be found here. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation.