Susan Peterson

Monday, August 14, 2017 2:23 pm

Susan Peterson, 68, of Decorah, died Tuesday evening, Aug. 8, 2017, at her home in Decorah. Memorial services were at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at Congregational United Church of Christ in Decorah, with Pastor Laura Arnold officiating. A reception followed in the Congregational Center. Visitation was from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday evening, Aug. 11, at Congregational United Church of Christ in Decorah. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah served the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.

Sue was born Feb. 1, 1949, in Sheboygan, Wis.; grew up in Manitowoc, Wis.; married Carl Peterson April 16, 1971; raised three children and one adopted grandson; and died Aug. 8, 2017, from complications from pancreatic cancer. She started feeling ill when DNA results showed she was only three percent Norwegian, instead of 25 percent that she was told growing up; and her health deteriorated rapidly at the thought of having to live with the current President for three and a half more years.

Throughout her life she was full of love, laughter and hope, always thinking about others. She had a keen sense of justice and compassion. When she became aware of her cancer, the hardest for her was in seeing the anguish of family and friends struggle with Sue’s pending death, and knowing that she will not get to watch her grandchildren grow up. Her request of us: “Remember me by smiling to a stranger, hugging a friend, laughing from your soul, and helping someone in need.”

Sue was actively involved with the NE Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Decorah, serving in many capacities; and she volunteered in the Seed Savers library for several years. A private person, Sue preferred to be behind the scenes, quietly supporting community events around town, attending school events or having special time with her grandchildren. Gardening, grandchildren and reading were her passions. Special times for her were also meeting with a Mussar study group and a monthly gathering of a close-knit women’s group.

She earned her RN degree from Fairview School of Nursing (Minneapolis), BA from Metropolitan State University (St. Paul), Masters of Counseling from Drake University (Des Moines) (which helped in putting up with her husband), and a computer networking certification in Denver. She also worked as a bookseller and at a homeless shelter. Her career changed based on child-raising times and family moves. Her last and favorite position allowed her to use all of her previous experiences and expertise in her role as administrator of First Universalist Church in Denver, Colo.

Sue is survived by her husband, Carl; son Matthew Peterson and daughter-in-law Sofie Prideaux and grandchildren Milo and Kai of Eugene, Ore.; son Rolf and daughter-in-law Laura Peterson and grandchildren Nils, Charles, and Alice of Decorah; daughter Kathryn Peterson of Commerce City, Colo.; adopted grandson Tobias Peterson; sister Heidi Olstad of Decorah; and brother Keith and sister-in-law Elizabeth Olstad of Minneapolis.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Sue with a donation to Amnesty International, Decorah Backpack Program, Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice or the NE Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

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