Barbara Carolyn Peterson died peacefully at Christian Community Home in Osceola at 10:34 a.m., Sept. 20, 2021. Her children and their spouses were in close attendance until the time that she passed. She was 86. Despite having advanced dementia, her heart was broken by the death of her husband of 66 years, Darrell, two weeks earlier.

Barbara was born on March 2, 1935, to Herbert and Margaret Paulson of Clear Lake. She was the first of seven children born to Herbert and Margaret, living on a dairy farm in Clear Lake.

While a student at Clear Lake High School, she attended a Luther League Rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Bethesda Lutheran Church was the last pick-up stop prior to departing for the convention. When the bus arrived at Bethesda, there was only one seat left in the very back of the bus. Unknown to Barbara at the time, the boy who would take the seat beside her for the bus trip would be the man she would one day marry, Darrell Peterson. In contrast to the day long trip to Colorado, their ride through life together would last 66 years.

Barbara graduated as the 1953 Clear Lake High School Valedictorian. After graduation, she worked as a church secretary in St. Paul, and she spent part of her spare time writing letters to, and reading letters from, her shy Swede boyfriend who had joined the Marines.

Darrell and Barbara were married in Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Clear Lake on June 25, 1955. They immediately packed up and moved to the Marine base at Miramar, California, where Darrell was stationed.

After Darrell’s honorable discharge from the Marines, they moved back to Darrell’s parent’s family farm on Sand Lake, which Darrell had recently purchased. Barbara and Darrell raised four children on the family farm, where Barbara stayed busy teaching piano lessons as well as playing the organ at Bethesda Lutheran Church. She shared her passion by giving the gift of music to hundreds of piano students.

Barbara actually began her career as organist in high school, as she played at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Little did she know her organist career would span nearly half a century. She served as the Bethesda organist for over 45 years. In addition to playing for the services on the historic pipe organ, installed in 1898, Barbara also directed the Bethesda Lutheran Church choir.

Besides music, Barbara’s other passions were her 15 grandchildren and gardening. She was particularly skilled at growing beautiful gladiolas. She was also active with a local women’s group called Homemakers of Ubet, when she wasn’t enjoying traveling with her husband.

In 1991 Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer and was fortunate to add her name to the growing list of breast cancer survivors. Always the giving person, Barbara became active with a breast cancer support group for women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Barbara began her debilitating journey with dementia in 2013, and the disease slowly robbed her of her memory and vitality. After several years of living in skilled nursing facilities, in June 2021 she and Darrell moved into Christian Community Home of Osceola, where she passed away Sept. 20, 2021.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Margaret Paulson of Dresser; brother Tim Paulson of Dresser and son-in-law Mark Luedtke of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Barbara is survived by her siblings, Denny (Caroline) Paulson, Pat (Jack) Broeker, Gary (Dorothy) Paulson, Joy (Dick) Reese, Jim (Gwen) Paulson; children Cheryl (Jon) Cermin, Bryan (Susan) Peterson, Bruce (Norma) Peterson and Renae (David) Borden; 15 grandchildren, Hayley (Garrett) Marxen, Jeremy (Becca) Cermin, Nathan (Alli) Peterson, Ashton (James) Batchelor, Tyler (Stacie) Peterson, Ryan, Danielle, Matthew and Dylan Peterson, Jake Luedtke, Jordie (Ben) Wahlquist, Zach and Ben Luedtke, Erica (Ben) Graham and David Borden; seven great-grandchildren, Finley and Sullivan Batchelor, Benjamin and Everly Peterson, Eleanor Graham, and Jack and Madeline Peterson. Barbara will be sorely missed.

She shared her funeral service with her husband of 66 years, Darrell Peterson, Sept. 25, at their lifelong church home, Bethesda Lutheran Church on Sand Lake. Darrell died Sept. 5 and was patiently waiting for Barbara’s arrival in heaven.

Funeral arrangements were made with Grandstrand Funeral Homes in Osceola. Condolences can be left at www.grandstrandfh.com.

Memorials can be made to Bethesda Lutheran Church.

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