Welcome to the memorial page for

Marian Elizabeth (Smith) Petersen

July 23, 1921 ~ April 20, 2017 (age 95)

Marian Elizabeth Petersen, 95, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at her residence at Perry Farm Village in Harbor Springs, Michigan. She was born to Otillie Ruppenthal Smith and Albert Franklin Smith on July 21, 1923 in Spokane, Washington, but she grew up in Wittenberg, Wisconsin.  After high school, she attended Stevens Point Business College and worked in Milwaukee and Chicago.

She married Eugene T. Petersen on February 2, 1946, a Marine lieutenant whom she met two years earlier while returning by train to Chicago following a visit to her brother, Franklin, an Army Air Force P-38 pilot later lost over Ploesti, Romania during WWII.  This chance meeting formed the basis of their fifty-five year marriage and the birth of their three children:  Jay, Todd, and Marta.

Marian and Gene lived in Milwaukee and Ann Arbor while Gene completed his education following the war.  In 1958, as Gene accepted the position of Director of Historic Projects for the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, they moved to Mackinac Island, where they worked side-by-side for almost thirty years:  he as Director and later Superintendent, she as Chief of Finance and Accounting.

They retired to St. Martin’s Bay, where she continued as a free-lance accountant and served on a number of area art council boards until 2006.  She enjoyed traveling with her family and friends, including two trips to mainland China, to Hong Kong, and to Alaska, Europe, and Russia.

She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother Franklin, by Gene and his two brothers (Thor and Martin), and by her sister-in-law, Judy Petersen (Martin’s wife).  She is survived by her sister-in-law, Gail Petersen (Thor’s wife), her children, Jay F. Petersen (Candace), Todd M. Petersen (Kathy), and Marta J. Olson (Peter), her grandchildren Lydia Petersen (Mark Henle), Eric E. Petersen (Molly), Brita M. Olson, Kaia R. Olson, and Zina A. Petersen, and her great-grandchildren, Bailey and Zachary Petersen.

She will be interred with Gene at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.  A memorial  service will be held at Ste. Anne Catholic Church on Mackinac Island on June 10 at 11:00 a.m.  Memorial contributions may be made to Mackinac Associates or Planned Parenthood.

 Service Information

Memorial Service
June 10, 2017

11:00 AM
Saint Anne Catholic Church
PO Box 537
Mackinac Island, MI 49757

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