Marilyn Doris Peterson (née Young) was born Sept. 5, 1926, in Dearborn, Mich., where her father had arrived for work at Ford Motor Company after leaving England. She was enfolded in love there among doting uncles, aunts and gentle mother who had also made the passage from the northwest coast of Britain. During the 1930s, the family, including a baby sister, relocated to England for a few years. Upon return, Marilyn developed a lifelong love of books and determined to become a children's librarian, graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1952, she married Gerald Alfred Peterson, whom she met through the Ford Thunderbird Ski Club, which Gerald founded.
They had two children, Mary Elizabeth (Zundo) and James Gerald Peterson, and spent eight years in Pittsburgh, Penn., before finding their final home in 1968 on a farm near Star City and Winamac, Ind. There Marilyn immersed herself in teaching at the Winamac Elementary School and designing the new school library, complete with story "pit," where she spent three decades introducing children to books and teaching them the skills they needed to navigate the use of libraries. She instilled in her own children an everlasting deep respect and love for music, books, learning, and the arts.
A classical pianist, she enjoyed volunteering for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's children's concerts in the 1960s and eventually found music again with friends in Indiana with the local community choir. She traveled far and wide with her beloved husband Jerry, from Alaska to Mexico, and Maine to Hawaii, and revisited England with family, as well.
Marilyn passed away Saturday, Jan. 6, in Danville, Ill., where her daughter resides. She is survived by husband Gerald, age 101; her two children; son-in-law, Dr. George Zundo; daughter-in-law, Gail Dyer; five grandchildren, Michael, Sam, and Emma Peterson, Dr. Erik and Andrew Zundo; granddaughter-in-law Kristyn Zundo; and two great-grandchildren, Jack and Luke Zundo. She was deeply loved and will be terribly missed. Family asks that, in lieu of flowers, friends may choose to donate in her memory to the ASPCA or the Vermilion County Animal Shelter in Tilton.
Visitation will be held at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Winamac, Ind., on Thursday at 4:30, service at 5:30. Interment will take place at Meadow View Cemetery in Lafayette, Ind., the following day at 10 a.m.
Published on January 9, 2018