Pilot's name was Vern Peterson
If this is N51VP it was registered N6173C from '63-'78, which matches the photo. Vern Peterson was the owner from '68-'83.
Correct- N6173C. Owned by Peterson for many years in Chicago where he was a pilot for American. He moved to Dallas as Chief Pilot and was killed in the aircraft not many years after retiring.
N6173C was owned by Hap Harper prior to 1963. I have pics of him with the plane at the Oakland Airshow in 1958 if anyone is interested.