Marie Lois Helland Petersen, 94, of Maple Grove, MN, passed away peacefully August 17, 2022 from heart complications. After 2 weeks of goodbyes to family and friends, she said hello to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Since the age of 10, Marie knew she loved the Lord and would commit her life to one of service and example.
Marie was born March 30, 1928, on a farm between Emmons and Alden MN. She was one of 5 children born to Elmer and Pearl Aaltine (Fossom) Helland. She attended country school District 92 Mansfield Township for 8 years. She was the only one in her grade but she said she always listened to the lessons of the older students and helped the younger ones. She had many stories of those years: walking the 1 mile in the summer or riding in the wagon with a fur horse blanket covering her in the winter. All her life she was an avid reader. In 1974 at her son’s college commencement when the poet Maya Angelou was mentioned by the speaker Marie’s college educated husband and 3 older children did not know who Maya Angelou was. Marie knew the poet/activist well as she had read her works. She always could contribute to a discussion on current events and had two cents to add to any political discussion. She was proud to say she had voted in every election since Harry Truman.
Marie graduated from Alden High School in 1945. She was Homecoming Queen that year but she said it wasn’t much fun because all the boys were in the Service and there wasn’t even a parade. She attended Minneapolis Institute of Art for 1 year and on July 27, 1946, married her high school sweetheart Harald Petersen at the Lime Creek Lutheran Church of Emmons. For 66 years which included 5 children: Barbara Wurtzberger (Richard), Julianne Petersen, David Petersen, Karen Whitehouse (David), Annette Petersen, there was never a dull moment. She and Harald served and committed their time and resources to the communities they lived in, the poor and underprivileged in Jamaica and the faith communities from which they drew their focus and strength.
For 10 years the family lived on the Star Farm of Alden. In 1963 they moved to Estherville, Iowa, and considered this a good move for the whole family. Marie was active in the community, schools and church. She was the first woman elected to the church council of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Estherville and she used her talents as a teacher to develop a daycare for developmentally disadvantaged children. She was an exceptional seamstress, always sewing for 4 girls. For one daughter’s wedding she sewed 7 dresses as well as planning the wedding and hosting the reception. In every community they lived Marie volunteered in community museums, senior centers, churches and schools. Her kitchen always had cookies and brownies for the family and the neighbor kids. She labeled herself a homemaker but she was so much more.
Marie was preceded in death by husband Harald; daughter Julianne; parents Elmer and Aaltine Helland, Andrew and Dagny Petersen; brother Larry Helland; sisters Junice Isabelle Helland, Ardys Collen and Ida Paulson; and many nieces and nephews and in-laws and friends.
At 94 years old, Mom was the oldest in the family for many years. When she questioned why or what was her value at such an old age, she was reminded by her 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and close friends, that we are blessed by her life, young and old. Thanks be to God for the life of Marie Lois Helland Petersen.
A memorial service for Marie will be held Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 10 a.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Alden, MN. Pastor Daphne Hamborg will officiate. Burial will take place at Alden Cemetery after the service. Visitation will be 1 hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday.