Cover photo for Gwendolyn Peterson's Obituary
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1920 Gwendolyn 2017

Gwendolyn Peterson

August 28, 1920 — April 27, 2017

Gwen Peterson, 96, of Dayton, Iowa, passed away on Thursday afternoon, April 27, 2017, at Grandview Health Care Center in Dayton.

Visitation will be Monday, May 8, 2017, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Carson – Stapp Funeral Home in Dayton. Following visitation, Gwen will be cremated. Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Dayton. Pastor Russ Crouthamel will officiate. Burial will follow in the Dayton Cemetery. For online obituaries and condolences visit:

Gwendolyn Lucille Peterson was born August 28, 1920 in Buckingham, Illinois, the daughter of Robert LeRoy (Roy) and Hattie Reed. The family moved to a farm near Rinard, Iowa in 1926. Gwen remembers traveling on the Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30) when visiting Iowa prior to the family's move. Illinois relatives would ask about navigating the Boone hill because the steep hill was a famous landmark, feared by early drivers before the road was paved.

Gwen graduated from Rinard Consolidated School in 1938. She attended the University of Iowa for one year and that year ignited her life long love of football. Hawkeye icon Nile Kinnick was a senior the year Gwen was a freshman and she fondly remembered that great Hawkeye team . Gwen then completed her teaching certificate at Iowa State Teacher's College in Cedar Falls. Several years later, Gwen earned a Bachelor's Degree from Drake University, taking classes evenings and Saturdays while teaching and raising a family. Gwen taught 1st and 2nd grades in Brooklyn, Charles City, Ft. Dodge, Lohrville, and later 3rd grade in Dayton, Iowa.

In the summer of 1942 Gwen worked at a WWII shell factory war plant in Wilmington, Illinois. She had the opportunity to be in Washington DC on D-Day – June 6, 1944. Later, in 1945, while working for Walgreen's outside of Chicago, Gwen and her friend found out the war had just ended. They immediately jumped on the bus, then transferred to a streetcar carrying them to downtown Chicago to join the masses of people celebrating VE Day. Gwen called this being in the right place at the right time.

Gwen married Kenneth Peterson of Dayton, Iowa in 1950 and became an instant mother. Kenneth had 3 children, Rita 8 years of age, and the twin boys, Mark and Marvin, who were 7. Kenneth and Gwen had two more children, Susan and Craig. When Gwen married into the Peterson family, she married into a large group of relatives since Kenneth was one of 13 children. Gwen was the last survivor of the original Peterson brothers and sisters and their spouses. Forty-four nephews and nieces called her Aunt Gwen.
Gwen retired from teaching in 1977. Her last teaching assignment was 3rd grade in Dayton. She loved teaching 3rd grade and especially her history unit on American Indians. Each year Kenneth's job was to cut down skinny trees to make the teepee. Her last class of students, the graduating class of 1986, honored Gwen by dedicating the Dayton High School yearbook to their former 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Peterson. Gwen loved visiting with former students and felt a special bond with each of them.

Kenneth and Gwen took advantage of Gwen's early retirement to travel. They visited all 50 states, Mexico, Canada, as well as many countries in Europe. Most winters were spent in Mesa, Arizona. Each fall Kenneth and Gwen would pack up the Buick, winterize the house in Dayton, and make the 1500 mile drive to the desert. Their route rarely varied with the destination being Monte Vista retirement village. This park was a treasured home away from home filled with dear friends and great memories. It also gave Gwen the opportunity to spend time enjoying her love of crafts.

Through the years, the grandchildren received tents, dollhouses, Christmas decorations, Cabbage Patch dolls, teddy bears, wall hangings, and quilts. All of these were handmade by Gwen. A day at Grandpa and Grandma's house often included the making of a craft or two.

Survivors include one brother, Gerald (Mike) Reed (Marlene) of Ft. Dodge, IA; four children, Rita Thompson (Paul) of Eldora, IA; Mark Peterson (Maureen) of Hoschton, GA; Susan Swanson (John) of Boxholm, IA; and Craig Peterson (Barb) of Dayton, IA. Gwen is also survived by 8 grandchildren: Allison (Mike) Bonnett, Susan (Dave) Schafer, Megan (Buzz) Killingsworth, Michael Peterson, Brooke (Karl) Fultz, Karen (Gabe) Olson, Kent (Abby) Peterson, Hayley (Cory) Anderson; 14 great-grandchildren: Taylor and Katelyn Bonnett, Jordan, AJ, Emma, and Samantha Schafer, Kristin and Kate Killingsworth, Lily and Mia Olson, Grant, Noah, and Adam Peterson, Eva Fultz, and 2 step-great-grandchildren, Liam and Hannah Fultz. Gwen was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Kenneth; son, Marvin Peterson; and brothers, Robert and Harold Reed.

Gwen had been member of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Dayton, Iowa since 1950. She loved the church activities and enjoyed the fellowship of friends within the church family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gwendolyn Peterson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, May 8, 2017

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration Of Life

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

Dayton Cemetery

, Dayton, IA 50530

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