Cover photo for Dorothy Ann Peterson's Obituary
Dorothy Ann Peterson Profile Photo

Dorothy Ann Peterson

d. September 20, 2014

March 28, 1920 ~ September 20, 2014


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2:00-8:00 PM

Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home

Harlan, Iowa

The family will be present to greet friends from 5:00-7:00 PM at the Funeral Home.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10:30 AM

First Baptist Church

Harlan, Iowa

Burial will be in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa


3 Daughters – Patricia (Franklin) Jordan of Citrus Heights, CA

Betty (Dennis) Lawrence of Council Bluffs, IA

Bonnie (Thomas) Palmer of Le Mars, IA

1 Son – Curtis Peterson of Roseville, CA

1 Daughter-in-law – Jackie Peterson of Jacksonville, IA

1 Sister – Shirley Nelsen of Clarinda, IA

1 Brother-in-law – Vernon Peterson of Concord, CA

12 Grandchildren

26 Great-grandchildren

18 Great-great-grandchildren

Other Relatives & Friends

Dorothy Ann Peterson, daughter of Chris and Edna (Willadsen) Nelson, was born on March 28, 1920, in Harlan, Iowa. She attended school in rural Shelby County, graduating from the eighth grade. Her first job was as a babysitter and housecleaner at the age of 14. Dorothy enjoyed gymnastics and playing softball in the Poplar (Iowa) area. It was these activities that she and her future husband shared as young teenagers.

Dorothy married Wesley Virgil Peterson on December 24, 1936, at the Baptist Church Parsonage in Atlantic, Iowa. They first farmed in the Poplar area before moving to the Peterson family farm in 1942. This farm later became a Century Farm in 1990. In 1959, they moved to Elk Horn, Iowa, where Dorothy worked at the Elk Horn Produce as an egg candler and bookkeeper. She also sold Avon. Wesley and Dorothy continued to farm while in Elk Horn. They moved back to the farm in 1972. They moved to Harlan, Iowa, in 1984, and into their present home in 1993. Following Wesley’s death on May 15, 2001, Dorothy remained in their home until very recently, when she became a resident of the Avoca Nursing and Rehab Center in Avoca, Iowa.

Wesley and Dorothy loved going to auctions, often with special cousins, Ronnie and Adrienne Petersen, where they added to their many antiques and collectables. Wesley collected toy tractors and souvenir donkeys. Dorothy had several collections including Mickey Mouse items, die-cast airplanes, and Flora Gold Depression glass. Dorothy loved to cook and bake. Her family especially enjoyed her fried chicken, homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, and apple pies. Her hobbies included crocheting hangers, potholders, and afghans, and embroidering pillow cases, dish towels, and quilts. She shared many of her quilts with her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed tending her many flowers. Most of all, Dorothy loved her home.

Dorothy was a member of the First Baptist Church in Harlan. Dorothy A. Peterson died on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa, at the age of 94 years, 5 months, and 23 days.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Wesley; a son, Lynn; her parents; three brothers; and two sisters. She is survived by three daughters, Patricia (Franklin) Jordan of Citrus Heights, California, Betty (Dennis) Lawrence of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Bonnie (Thomas) Palmer of Le Mars, Iowa; one son, Curtis Peterson of Roseville, California; one daughter-in-law, Jackie Peterson of Jacksonville, Iowa; one sister, Shirley Nelsen of Clarinda, Iowa; one brother-in-law, Vernon Peterson of Concord, California; 12 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; 18 great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

The funeral service was held on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, at the First Baptist Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Dan Hawn officiating. Helen Warren served as pianist and Jim Swensen was the soloist. Casket bearers were Dorothy’s grandchildren: Kimberly Jordan, Brenda Jordan, Frank Jordan, Scott Peterson, Toni Andersen, Tim Peterson, Gail Peterson, Amy Cisneros, Chris Peterson, Todd Lawrence, Michelle Weets, and Jeffrey Palmer. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at
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