She was "Anj" to her husband, but in her 82 years, she was known by many other names. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 1976 began her career in elementary education in Grand Portage, and retired after a 27-year tenure in Grand Marais. The former mayor of Grand Marais, Peterson was the first woman elected to that office; among her achievements during her four terms was championing and attaining significant conservation easements, including for the Harbor Park in downtown Grand Marais. As co-proprietor of the former Gunflint Motel, she created a happy yard from the violets to the petunias and potentilla; after her move across town, she waged silent battles with the deer for her hostas. Lover of literature, she spent earlier years devouring murder mysteries, later publishing three of her own, as well as a broad review of indigenous persons in children's books.
She was an active board member for the Grand Marais Public Library, Schroeder Area Historical Society, and Sugarloaf Cove, where her work earned her the prestigious Tombolo Award. She was a member of book club and bell choir in Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Peterson served on the Grand Marais/CookCounty Economic Development Authority. She enjoyed walking, swimming, and toast and conversation at the South of the Border Cafe.
Perhaps the names she enjoyed most were wife, mom, omma. Married August 17, 1957, she shared 63 loving years of marriage, four children, and seven grandchildren. She instilled a love of travel, zest for the arts and education, and inspiration and drive in her children. She spent countless hours with her grandchildren coloring, reading, playing games, making music, baking, and feeding them ice cream before dinner.
She passed peacefully in her home, surrounded by family, drawing to a close her battle with cancer. She is preceded in death by her parents, Icel E (Shupe) and Christian Anderson; her brothers, Christian Anderson, Duane "Jim" Anderson, and her daughter, Colleen Peterson. She is survived by her husband, David Peterson; her children, Jessica (Dan) Olsen, Jeanne (Kyle) Monson, and Christopher (Kimberly) Peterson; her sister, Dorthea Anderson; and her seven grandchildren, Brianna, Nathan, Chase, Arianna, Elias, Reagan, and Amanda.
Teacher, civil servant, traveler, gardener, reader, maker, volunteer, author, omma, mom, Anj.
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