Elfriede Petersen, 98, of Atlantic, Iowa and formerly of the Tyler, Minnesota area, died Saturday, August 26, 2023, at Heritage House in Atlantic.
Elfriede Christine was born September 15, 1924, to Arthur and Elise (Siefke) Bruchmann on a farm in Rock Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota. She was baptized at Aetna Lutheran Church, rural Ruthton, MN, and confirmed in May 1939, at First English Lutheran Church in Tyler, MN. She graduated from Tyler High School in 1942. During her high school years, she worked part-time at Stork Produce in Tyler. After graduation she attended a National Administration School at Glenwood, Minnesota and worked for Northwest Airlines Modification Center at Holman Field, working on B-24 planes, converting them from bombers to reconnaissance (camera) planes until VJ Day, August 1945. She returned to Tyler and worked as a telephone operator and as a store clerk.
On May 4, 1947, Elfriede married Donald Edgar Petersen at Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler. Their union was blessed with five daughters and 61 years of life together. The couple raised their family on a farm in Hope Township south of Tyler for 55 years, and were residents in Tyler for 26 years after leaving the farm. During most of their marriage she was a homemaker and sewed many garments for herself and her children. Later, she worked 20 years as the secretary of Danebod Lutheran Church. She and Don grew flowers and produce which they sold at local Farmers’ Markets and to florists for over 30 years.
Elfriede became a member of Danebod Lutheran Church after her marriage, where she taught Sunday School, belonged to several ladies’ aids groups, and sang in the choir. She sang solos for weddings, showers, funerals, and many other events. She was a 4-H project leader for clothing and crafts and taught her two younger sisters and all five of her daughters how to sew, for which they all earned prizes for their clothing projects. She was active in an extension club and was a member of Hope Afternoon Club for over 60 years. In the early 1970’s she performed in dramatic and musical productions at the Lake Benton Opera House, and acted in numerous plays for more than 30 years. Her favorite role was that of Yente, the matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof.” She collected colored glassware, especially cobalt blue and cranberry red vases and candle holders. She enjoyed various kinds of needlework, crafts, crossword puzzles, reading, playing cards, and growing flowers, and she loved to go to rummage and auction sales.
She was a very independent woman, so she was reluctant to move to assisted living. After some discussion in regards to snow removal and the threat of her falling on ice, she was convinced to move to Danebod Village Home in the fall of 2013 ‘Just for the winter.’ When spring came, she was asked if she was ready to move back to her house and she decided that is was much better to have someone else do the cooking, cleaning and laundry so she stayed as a resident there till August 2018.
Due to her declining health and early signs of dementia she moved to Atlantic, Iowa, where she lived with her daughter, Janet and husband Roger. Her granddaughter, Amber moved back to help them care for her, also. She moved to Heritage House in Atlantic in January 2020 and loved it there with so many new friends to talk to and she was known for singing at the table. Covid took its toll and with the isolation her dementia advanced.
The family would like to thank her wonderful roommate, Betty Lillard, who always kept tabs on her, the incredible staff at Heritage House for their loving care, as well as the Hospice of the Midwest in her final days.
Elfriede is lovingly remembered by her daughters, Marie (Howard) Alff of Anita, IA, Janet (Roger) Huey of Atlantic, IA, Ruth (Rich) Minick of Dayton, OH, and Sara (Robert) Murray of Plymouth, MN; six grandchildren, Sonia Nordmeyer (Toby Baker) of Lakewood, CO, Amber (Terry) Beerman of Anita, IA, Patrick McClain of Des Moines, IA, Brook (Matt) Stensgaard Cruger of Chicago, IL, and Nick and Taylor Murray of Plymouth, MN; one great grandchild, Devin McClain; sisters, Elisabeth Seibert of Chicago, IL and Joy Gannon of St. Bonifacius, MN; sister-in-law, Clarice Kumlien of Willow Wood, OH; and many other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald on September 4, 2008; a daughter, Lorine on September 6, 1964; her parents; a sister, Irma Wirt; brother, Fred Bruchmann; and sisters-in-law, Carol Johansen, Wilma Bruchmann and Joan Weber; brother-in-law, Don Wirt.
The family will host services at a later date in Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers trees to be planted in a US forest in need (see this opportunity on her posting at www.rolandfuneralservice.com) or memorials to be designated at a later date.
Roland Funeral Service of Atlantic, Iowa is caring for Elfriede's family and the arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.