Mary Peterson

Dec. 8, 1947 – Feb. 4, 2020

Mary Rosalie Peterson, 72 of Algona, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at the Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona.

Mary was born to parents Pat and Rita McGuire on Dec. 8, 1947, in Cherokee, Iowa. She grew up the eldest of seven children and graduated in the last class of Cushing High School in 1966. After a year at Clark College in Dubuque, Iowa, where she met the love of her life, Marc Peterson, on a blind date, she attended and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1970 with a degree in medical technology.

Mary worked at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago for one year before accepting Marc's proposal of marriage. Upon his return from Vietnam, Mary and Marc were married Dec. 27, 1969, during a very memorable and horrific blizzard. They admirably celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past December. Throughout her life, Mary worked in hospital laboratories in Chicago; Iowa City; Yankton, S.D.; Cherokee; and Algona. She was a lifelong learner, earning a second degree in elementary education from the University of South Dakota during their years in Centerville, S.D.

Mary was, first and foremost, a wife and mother. She focused on family – her husband, four children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She lived selflessly and dedicated her whole life to taking care of others. Mary was a loving and devoted wife for over 50 years, a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her professional careers included that of a medical technologist, teacher and an in-home daycare provider, not to mention a dedicated Girl Scout leader, swim team mom, varied sports and school activities chauffeur and the loudest cheerleader. To all that had the pleasure and delight of knowing her, Mary was very generous with her time.

During all of those different stages and times in her life, she was readily and selflessly putting others’ needs before her own, and she never uttered an unkind word. Mary had the biggest heart and shared her love and laughter freely and unconditionally. She always encouraged her children to be sensitive but strong, kind-hearted, self-confident and to take pride in all aspects of life. She was supportive and taught that even though life wasn’t always fair, to have gratitude, be humble, follow through with commitments, smile, come through the storm and be stronger on the other side.

Mary is survived by her loving husband and dedicated caregiver, Marc; daughters, Mary Berniece, Peggy and Erin; and son Andy and his wife Kerri. She was devoted to her grandchildren, Anthony and Natasha (Luke) Edwards, Michael and Hunter Peterson, Luke Edwards and Ethan and Caleb Peterson; and her great-grandchildren, Keziah, Isabel, Kaelan and Tristan. She is also survived by brothers, Mike (Anne), PJ (Amy) and Dan (Andy) McGuire; and sisters Kathleen (Jim) Piper and Sheila (Scott) Riggs. Extended family and numerous nieces and nephews will also miss Aunt Mary’s cheerful and genuine interest in their lives. Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Pat and Rita McGuire; sister Colleen McGuire; sister-in-law Janiece Lehmann; and grandsons, Cameron, Jacob and Justin Edwards.

A funeral Mass is 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 21, at St. Cecelia Catholic Church, in Algona. Visitation with the family is 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, at Oakcrest Funeral Services, Algona, with a rosary, at 4 p.m. and scripture prayer service at 6:30 p.m. The family will continue to greet loved ones and friends one hour prior to the Mass at the church on Friday. Burial of the cremated remains will be later this spring in the Our Lady of Good Counsel Cemetery, Holstein, Iowa.

Online condolences may be left at

Kossuth County Advance

14 E. Nebraska St.

Algona, IA 50511  

Phone: (515) 295-3535

Fax: (515) 295-7217

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