Mary Rosalie Peterson, 72, of Algona, IA, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, at the Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona.
Mary was born to parents, Pat and Rita McGuire, on December 8th, 1947 in Cherokee, Iowa. She grew up the eldest of seven children, and graduated in the last class of Cushing High School, in 1966. After a year at Clark College in Dubuque, IA where she met the love of her life, Marc Peterson, on a blind date, she graduated from the University of Iowa in 1970, with a degree in Medical Technology. Mary worked at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, in Chicago, for one year before accepting his proposal of marriage. Upon his return from Vietnam, Mary and Marc were united in marriage on December 27th, 1969, during a very memorable and horrific blizzard. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past December. Throughout her life, Mary worked in hospital laboratories in Chicago, Iowa City, Yankton, Cherokee, and Algona. She was a lifelong learner, earning a second degree in elementary education, from the University of South Dakota, during their years in Centerville, SD.
Mary was, first and foremost, a wife and mother. She focused on family...her husband, four children, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. She lived selflessly and dedicated her whole life to taking care of others. Mary was a loving and devoted wife for over 50 years, a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her professional careers have included that of a medical technologist, teacher, and an in-home daycare provider...not to mention, a dedicated girl scout leader, swim team mom, varied sports and school activities chauffeur, and the loudest cheerleader. To all that had the pleasure and delight of knowing her, Mary was very generous with her time. She enjoyed swapping stories, and giving sound advice, and was always willing to share her tribal, and self-proclaimed, 'useless' knowledge. Mary took pride in her multitude of talents and attributes, as an amazing 'from-scratch' pie and dessert baker, a short-order cook, seamstress, rough draft generator/editor, scratch paper user, grocery list maker, and 'thank you' note writer. All will remember her as an article, recipe, and newspaper clipper and collector, an avid obituary proofreader, correct grammar and language lover, infamous Scrabble winner, master of trivia, psychic, therapist, and a tough-love giver. During all of those different stages and times in her life, she was readily, and selflessly, putting others' needs before her own, and never uttered an unkind word. Mary had the biggest heart, and shared her love and laughter freely and unconditionally. She always encouraged her children to be sensitive but strong, kind-hearted, self-confident, and to take pride in all aspects of life. She was supportive, and taught that even though life wasn't always fair, to have gratitude, be humble, follow through with commitments, smile, come through the storm, and be stronger on the other side. She had a 'tee-hee' belly laugh, bright eyes, and a smile and voice that would warm your heart...even from several hundred miles away. You could always count on her to be there to talk on the phone, for hours on end, comfort, advise, console, and love unconditionally, without judgement.
Mary is survived by her loving husband and dedicated caregiver, Marc; daughters, Mary Berniece, Peggy, and Erin; and son, Andy, and his wife, Kerri. She was devoted to her grandchildren, Anthony, Natasha (Luke) Edwards, Michael, and Hunter Peterson; Luke Edwards; Ethan and Caleb Peterson; and her great-grandchildren Keziah, Isabel, Kaelan, and Tristan. She is also survived by brothers, Mike (Anne), PJ (Amy), and Dan (Andy) McGuire; and sisters Kathleen (Jim) Piper and Sheila (Scott) Riggs. Numerous nieces and nephews and their families will also miss Aunt Mary's cheerful and genuine interest in their lives. Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Pat and Rita McGuire, sister, Colleen McGuire, sister-in-law, Janiece Lehmann, and grandsons, Cameron, Jacob, and Justin Edwards.
A funeral Mass will be held Friday, February 21st, 2020 at 11:00 AM at St. Cecelia Catholic Church, in Algona, IA. Visitation with the family: Thursday, February 20th, from 4 to 7 PM, at Oakcrest Funeral Services, Algona; Rosary, at 4 PM; and Scripture Prayer Service, at 6:30 PM. The family will continue to greet loved ones and friends, one hour prior to the Mass at the church on Friday. Burial of the cremated remains will be later this spring in the Our Lady of Good Counsel Cemetery, Holstein, Iowa.
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