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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Eileen F. Peterson

Issue Date: April 5, 2018

Eileen Florence (Johnson) Peterson, 96, formally of Cedar River, Mi. passed away Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Born Aug. 30, 1921, to Warner Ferdinand and (Lydia) Florence (Anderson-Lovine) Johnson in Turlock, Ca., she grew up a dairyman's daughter and fruit farmer in the San Joaquin Valley. Her grandparents, on both sides of her family, immigrated from Sweden in the 1870s. At age six, her mother prepared her for a life of service as pianist and organist for over 70 years. She played the piano for churches at age 13 and studied music at Wheaton College.

She was chosen as "class pianist" and often played the pipe organ at Wheaton Chapel. While at Wheaton, she served as organist at "The Tab" (The Tabernacle) where Billy Graham was student pastor.

She met her future husband, Eugene L. Peterson, while serving as President of the Wheaton College Rifle Club. He graduated from flight school and received his wings, commission and his bride and they married on Oct. 30, 1942 at Luke Field in Phoenix, Az.

He was then assigned to a Photo Mapping Squadron at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs. Later, flying over North Africa, he declared, "I feel like a father today." Four days later, he learned that he became a father on May 6, 1944, when daughter Frances (Francie/Fran) was born.

About every two years thereafter, more children came. Mary Jane, William (Bill) l, John, Linda (Lin), Bruce and Barbara (Barbie/ Barb). She managed the household and raised the children. They lived across the street from the church where she played piano frequently. They led a strong life of commitment to the Lord.

As empty nesters, they traveled to Japan, where his brother was a missionary; China; Europe; Kenya; especially among the Massai where daughter, Mary Jane was a missionary with her family; Tanzania; African Safaris; Chilé, the home of two exchange students who had lived with them and the Holy Land, where her daughter Fran's husband, Ed, served as a Fulbright Scholar for a year.

She wrote her story entitled, "Out of the West, Fulfilled and Blessed." She loved the verse, John 10:10, "I am come that you might have life and have it to the full." She believed those words described her life and she was always grateful. "To God Be the Glory!"

She is survived by five children, Fran (Ed) Lambeth of Columbia, Mo., Bill (Cindi) Peterson of Piney Flats, Tn., Lin Peterson of Cedar River, Mi., Bruce (Becky) Peterson of Rockville, In., Barb (Jim) Pipkorn of Cedarburg; 16 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren and her brother's children, Terry (Teri) Johnson and Ann Palmquist.

Including her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Gene on Jan, 19, 2004; a son, John in August of 1949; a daughter, Mary Jane on April 1, 2001 and a brother, Myron Johnson.

Visitation will be held at Carney Evangelical Free Church on Saturday, April 7 from 2 p.m. until time of the funeral service at 4 p.m. Pastor Kit Bogan will officiate with burial in the Carney Free Church Cemetery. Anderson Diehm Funeral Home of Stephenson is assisting the family with arrangements.


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