The flag at Utah State University flew at half-staff Tuesday, a solemn goodbye to professor emeritus Dean F. Peterson and his half-century career in coaxing the best performance from human and natural resources.

Peterson, 75, died Friday in Logan.He was one of the century's major figures in water resources development, yet the words mentioned by those who knew him at USU were overwhelmingly about the nature of the man: "warm . . . personable . . . cheerful . . . interested in others . . . a bright light . . . talkative and articulate . . . with heart."

Peterson's roots were in Delta. His father had attended USU as the Utah Agricultural College, and his grandfather lived in North Logan.

Peterson earned a civil engineering degree from USU in 1934, and went on to get a doctorate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1939.

He was a builder.

"I can build a bridge or a bench," Peterson had said, "but I have the most fun helping to build an institution."

He headed and helped build the civil engineering department at Colorado State University in the 1940s.