Life Story Service
Life Story Reception
Monday, July 31, 2023
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Monday, July 31, 2023
1:00 PM EDT
Oak Grove Cemetery
1128 E 2nd St
Lawton, MI 49065
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
200 Vesey Street, 28th Floor
New York, NY 10281
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Irene Peterson was a friendly, sociable, and loving woman who cherished her family, her community, and the simple presence of others. 1925, the year The Great Gatsby was published and Mount Rushmore was dedicated, was when Lynn and Mildred Welsh welcomed their first child and baby girl, Irene, into their home on July 30th. The family lived on a farm in Porter Township and both parents were farmers.
Growing up during the Great Depression was challenging for the family, but the Irwin’s persevered and grew many fruits and vegetables to support themselves. Irene and her younger sister Donna helped as much as they could on the farm, taking upon whatever tasks their parents needed help with, whether it was gardening, sewing, or preserving food for the winter.
Irene attended Mattawan High School and graduated in 1942. She loved her community and town, and she made friends easily. Working as a cashier at the local grocery store, she always savored the conversations she would have with shoppers, as there was hardly a person who came through whom she didn't know. Irene worked in various grocery stores as a cashier for many years.
Irene met John Peterson while he was home on leave from the Navy. The two were drawn to each other and discovered an irresistible spark between them. In 1943, they decided to spend the rest of their lives together, and were married.
Several of Irene's family members worked at Welch's production facility in Lawton, including her dad, sister, and niece. It made sense for Irene to join the operation as well, and she decided that was just what she wanted to do. She became a production worker for the company, and she remained there for 20 years before retiring. Irene liked working for the local company where she continued cultivating many new friendships.
Irene always had a garden when her children were young, when they still lived in the country. Going back to her formative years as a young girl, Irene knew the importance of food sovereignty. Much of the food on the table came from the garden. She picked fresh fruits and vegetables, and whatever they couldn't eat, was canned. Countless tomatoes, beans, peaches, and more were preserved for later use.
In 1960, Irene and John built a house together in Lawton, and they never moved or had the desire to live anywhere else. Lawton was always home, although the couple thoroughly enjoyed their vacation to Hawaii for their 50th wedding anniversary. Irene also accompanied John at some of his Naval reunions throughout the years. Some of their other memorable adventures include trips to St. Louis and Niagara Falls with their children.
Irene loved being in the kitchen whether she was cooking or baking. One of her signature dishes was a large, steaming pot of beef and noodles which the whole family always took delight in. Irene was somewhat of a bookworm. She collected several history books, and the topic captivated her, including her own history. She was fascinated by knowing more about her ancestors and her genealogy. Through her research, she was able to trace her heritage back to 1576. She frequented the Paw Paw Library where she was able to garner more information and also several churches that helped her uncover intriguing details.
Irene's life is a testament to her love and her strong sense of community. Her legacy will forever endure in the hearts of those she touched, inspiring them to carry on her compassion and curiosity.
Irene Peterson, 97, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2023, at White Oaks Assisted Living in Lawton. In addition to her parents, Irene was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, John; 2 grandsons: Michael Behie and Andrew Peterson; and her sister, Donna. She is survived by her 4 children: David (Phyllis) Peterson, Gerald Peterson, Arlene (Frank) Behie, and Chris (Sandy) Peterson; 5 grandchildren: Monica, David, Sarina, Katherine, and Jeffrey; 7 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
A Life Story Service will take place Monday, July 31 at 11 AM at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Homes, 60900 M40, Paw Paw, (269) 657-3870. A reception will follow where food, drinks, and stories can be shared, with burial at Oak Grove Cemetery. Visit Irene’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 200 Vesey St., 28th Floor, New York, NY 10281.