Laurie Petersen, 59, of Exira, Iowa, died Sunday, February 14, 2021, at her home.
Laurie Sue was born on December 31, 1961, the daughter of Lyle Duane and Colleen Elaine (Kitelinger) Jeppesen of Brayton, Iowa. She was the little sister to two older brothers, and as the only girl and baby of the family, was naturally well loved and doted upon. Both Colleen and Lyle admit she may have been slightly spoiled but never came to an agreement on who was behind most of the spoiling. As a favorite childhood story suggests, even the neighbors loved her - the neighbor across the street in Brayton had an old shed that unbeknownst to Lyle and Colleen, he allowed the siblings to turn into their own personal playhouse.
Laurie attended school in Exira and graduated in the Class of 1980.
During her high school years, a trip to the annual 4th of July Celebration in Exira would lead Laurie to meet the love of her life, Paul Petersen. The story she told everyone went a little like this... "A friend of mine wanted to introduce me to someone she knew and once we met, we ventured off to enjoy the Independence Day festivities, including a few times around the tilt-a-whirl. Later that night, I attended the dance with Paul before heading off to meet my dad to dance in Brayton. In the weeks to follow, Paul invited me on a date, which I declined, because I already had plans with my girlfriends. We later rode together to a gathering at the Salt Cellar in Atlantic. I was oblivious to the fact that Paul thought it was a date, and once we arrived, I went about my own business and ignored him. It wasn’t until he drove me home and bought me dinner that I realized it was a date.” Already knowing Paul would be her future husband, Laurie headed off to college for a short time only, as her dad tells it, “for a man's voice stronger than mine made her decide to return to get married.” The couple was united in marriage on November 14, 1981, at the Assembly of God Church in Atlantic. They were blessed with three sons, Nicholas, Benjamin and Joel.
Laurie stayed home to care for the boys in their younger years and later accepted a teacher’s aide position in the Special Education room at the Exira school. She worked at the post offices in Exira, Audubon and Atlantic; a career that spanned over 20 years. During that time, she worked in many different roles, her favorite being a trainer for future employees. In June of 2018, she took a job with TS Bank in Atlantic as a Universal Banker. Anyone that met Laurie through her work was greeted with her radiant smile and kind spirit.
Laurie’s greatest joys in her life were the Lord and her family. Laurie, Paul and the kids were active members of Fellowship Church in Oakland for over 20 years. She held a deep trust in her Lord, one that was unmovable and never wavered; she was always thankful for the love and goodness he provided her. Laurie was always open and willing to share the word of the Lord with others, whether it be through praying with the hurting, encouraging those who needed hope, or mentoring many young girls to know and follow Jesus. She loved people and had a special way of connecting with others in their spiritual journey. Laurie’s grandkids will always treasure the time they spent together; it was hard to tell who was having more fun most of the time. Whether playing in the leaves or sipping tea at an afternoon tea party, she got down to their level. Laurie was the “fun grandma”, chasing, playing, and often getting louder than the kids. These qualities built memories with her grandkids' that they will never forget.
Mischievous, ornery and a jokester are just a few of the words that you may think of when you think of Laurie’s personality. She had a way of making you believe anything she said. Through the years she told others she was an only child, only to be caught when her siblings showed up to an event and she had to introduce them. Did you know that Laurie had a successful vocal career? Well, that may not be all true, but she did convince her sons of this growing up. She would make up songs, possibly with a little plagiarism along the way, and sing them to the boys, telling them she wrote the melodies herself. They even believed her to be famous, "so much so" that the Bill Gaither record she had was given by him personally to remember her years as part of the Gaither Vocal Band. Laurie also would tell you her most ticklish spot was the palm of her hand, and if you tried tickling it, she would play along and giggle away; her way of hiding where she truly was ticklish.
Laurie is survived by her sons, Nicholas (Janell) Petersen and their children, Hudson and Hazel of Omaha, NE, Benjamin (Vera) Petersen of Exira, IA, and Joel (Faith) Petersen and their children, Mae, Penelope, Jude and Sawyer of Exira, IA; father, Lyle Jeppesen of Anita, IA; brother, Duane (Marla) Jeppesen of Harrisonville, MO; sister-in-law, Chris Jeppesen of Kansas City, MO; brother-in-law, Jon (Katie Organ) Petersen of Riverside, IA and many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Paul; mother, Colleen Jeppesen; and brother, Tim Jeppesen.
Open visitation will be from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 19th at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic, followed by visitation with the family present from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The family requests that masks be worn and social distancing be observed.
A private funeral service will be held. The service will be livestreamed at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 20th. Burial will be at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, west of Exira, Iowa.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed in Laurie’s memory to the Phoenix Academy, 1110 North 66th Street, Omaha, NE 68132.Memo: Memory of Laurie Petersen. Phoenix Academy is a non-profit interventional school where Laurie’s grandson, Hudson, attends.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Laurie’s family and her arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.
***SLIDESHOW AND SERVICE (Service starts at 7:00)***