Peter John Lanenga was born Aug. 10, 1939, to Peter and Martha (Venhuizen) Lanenga in Chicago. He was baptized and made a profession of faith in the Christian Reformed Church. Peter was a member of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He attended and graduated from Timothy Christian High School in 1958.

Peter served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964 stationed at Ft. Belvair, Virginia. While stationed at Ft. Belvair, Virginia, he met his wife, Arlene Dykstra. They married Feb. 29, 1964, and moved back to Chicago when Peter was honorably discharged from the Army in April of 1964.