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Jean Elizabeth Petersen

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Jean Elizabeth Petersen passed away July 24, 2013 at The Villages in San Luis Obispo, Calif. where she had moved in 2006. She was born January 2, 1925 to Mae and Harold Peterson in Portland, Ore.


She studied piano and enjoyed family fishing trips. Her parents were active in the American Legion and Jean was elected the first Governor of Oregon's Girl's State.


She graduated from Grant High School in Portland and was a member of Chi Omega at Oregon State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in English. Jean worked as a crane operator at a Portland shipyard during WWII. She was secretary to OSU head football coach, Lon Stiner, and basketball coach, Slats Gill. In Ashland, she was involved in AAUW, attended the Presbyterian Church, skied, and played bridge and tennis.

After receiving her teaching credential at Southern Oregon College she taught in the Medford School District for 20 years, mostly at Jackson Elementary School. She and her first husband, Alexander Petersen, developed the Rogue Valley Racquet Club in Medford. She loved ballroom dancing and spent years square dancing, round dancing and arranging for callers. She attended SOLIR classes, traveled and was passionate about gardening.

Her most important job was raising her children, Jacqueline Nelson, of Corvallis, Ore., Jeffrey Petersen, of Vashon, Wash., Julie Reil, of Atascadero, Calif. and John Petersen, of Klamath Falls, Ore. She was proud of her granddaughters Melissa and Nicolle Nelson, Jennifer Petersen Ugwu, Wendy Reil Stowasser and Robin Reil; and two great-granddaughters, Amara and Sochi Ugwu.

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