Verla Jean Peterson left this earth on February 5, 2020 after a full, long life. During her 93 years, she was an example of kindness, faith and love.
Verla Jean was born to Mamie and Royal Triplett on April 7, 1926, the third of eight children in Ahsahka, Idaho. She always loved learning and graduated from high school at 16. She was able to continue her education and went on to get her teaching degree from the Lewiston Normal School at the age of 18 thanks to financial help from her brother Hank. School brought many opportunities for Verla. She met her lifelong friend Idel Gilje, she also met her future husband Vernon at a school dance in Lewiston. This began a 61 year marriage. Upon graduation, she taught in a one room school house in Grangemont, Idaho for one year, and then taught in Genesee for a year after her marriage. In October 6, 1944, Verla and Vernon were married under the arches of the farm house where they lived and raised four children, David Peterson (Carol), Diane Hermann (Bernie), Jean Owen (Greg) and Debra Russell (Steve). Her life was dedicated to God, her family, and others. Mother, teacher, mentor, and caregiver were among her incredible talents, selflessly giving to everyone, including caring for Mother-in-law Dollie Peterson. While raising her family on the farm, she grew acres of gardens and made delicious food for family, harvest crews, and relatives. Her annual spring flower display of daffodils and tulips continue to be a reminder of the love she had for gardening.
Verla went back to school, earned her bachelors degree and began teaching in Genesee in 1971. Continuing her education she graduated with her Master’s Degree in 1979 from the University of Idaho. She went on to teach in the Genesee School District until her retirement in 1987.
After Vernon’s passing in 2005, life became difficult living on the farm, and so she moved to Lewiston. There she kept her friendly and helpful disposition becoming a favorite of all her caregivers. She always enjoyed visiting the farm and family, including the Century Farm Celebration in 2012 and family weddings at the farm.
Verla was an active member of Genesee Lutheran Parish, serving in many capacities. During her 93 years, Verla lived according to her values and in doing so was a wonderful role model. She is survived by ten grandchildren: Michael and Becky Peterson, Stacy Carter and Steve Hermann, Nathan, Nicholas and Patrick Owen, Ryan, David, and William Russell. Eight great grandchildren, Savannah, Carly, Zach, Cara, Cooper, Charlie, Emma, and Grace.
A memorial service will be held May 9, at 11:00 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Genesee. Followed by a luncheon at the Senior Center. Memorials may be made to the Genesee Ambulance Fund, Genesee School District or Genesee Lutheran Parish.
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