Legendary EHS Trainer “Doc” Peterson Fixed More Than Injuries



Former Edison High School Athletic Trainer Bob “Doc” Peterson ‘69 passed away on April 3, 2021. Peterson worked at EHS from 1972 to 2004. His positive attitude over those 32 years inspired many students to work hard in both the classroom and on the field.  Doc’s wife, Mary Ann Peterson ‘71, hosted a memorial service in the Frank N. Cangelosi Gymnasium to celebrate his life. 

“Our life revolved around Edison [Public Schools],” she said. “We had to have [the memorial service] here, because [Doc] loved this place.”

Doc, a graduate of Edison High School, pursued higher education at Montclair College and Kean University. In addition, Doc always stated that he learned the most from Frankie Redd, Edison High’s first athletic trainer and his mentor. Following Redd’s passing, Peterson was hired by former Principal Leo Scanlon, becoming the second athletic trainer in the school’s history. During his tenure, the Edison High athletics program achieved numerous successes in various sports. After he retired, he continued to attend athletics events at Edison High, often keeping score at basketball games. 

“He made sure that he was at all the events and at many of the practices and games and different things as he could,” said Principal Charles Ross. 

“He was always there to help the athletes, and came through all the time,” said Ms. Carolyn Borquist ‘01. 

Mr. Peterson obtained the nickname of “Doc” from his students and was proud that former students continued to recognize him. 

“[He] was a local legend who everyone knew. When you mentioned the word ‘Doc,’ you were talking about Bob Peterson,” said Mr. David Sandaal, the current athletic director at Edison High. While he and his wife were celebrating their 25th anniversary in Bermuda, for example, a former student there recognized him and shouted, “Hey, Doc!” 

Many people knew him for his dry sense of humor. 

“He had a funny personality; everyone remembered he had funny ways of saying things, of teasing kids,” Peterson said.

“His one-liners, his dry sense of humor were just memorable,” added Sandaal. 

Doc’s impact ran deep.  He influenced the personal lives of many students. 

“If something went wrong in [a student’s] life, he was involved,” said Peterson. “If a kid’s parents died, they turned to Bob. Bob tried to help them.” 

He also influenced the jobs of current Edison High faculty and administration. He walked Ms. Jennifer Steinbeck ‘87, down the aisle during her wedding to George Wallace.  Now Mrs. Jennifer Wallace, she has been teaching special education at Edison High for over 20 years. 

Doc’s legacy endures.  

“He helped me learn what it meant to be an Eagle, and what it meant to keep Edison High School at the high standards of greatness it was accustomed to for years,” said Ross. 

 “Sometimes I don’t think we give kids enough credit, especially student athletes. Doc cared about his student athletes, and I take that into my job as an athletic director,” Sandaal said.

If you wish to donate in Peterson’s memory, his family suggested some of Doc’s favorite charities: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (which he donated to in memory of his friend Tony Bruno), The V Foundation (which he donated to in memory of his colleague Joe Koslick), The Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey (which helped Doc during one of his hospital stays), or The Marisa Tufaro Foundation.