Cover photo for Marlene June Peterson's Obituary
Marlene June Peterson Profile Photo
1931 Marlene 2022

Marlene June Peterson

December 4, 1931 — June 8, 2022

Marlene June Peterson
1931 - 2022

Marlene was born to Albert (Al) Henry Route and Ruth Elizabeth (Christensen) Route on December 4, 1931 at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Being the only girl, and being the middle child, Marlene was availed to older brother Neal’s inherent desire to be inquisitive, in a more studious fashion, as well as younger brother Jim’s more playful and explorative side. The love and influence of both brothers would balance well with Marlene for the rest of her life.

Marlene grew up with her parents and brothers in Ubet, Wisconsin. Her parents, Albert and Ruth, owned and operated The Ubet Store, a small rural grocery store. Although not official and not incorporated, Ubet boasted a sign that once read, “Ubet, Wisconsin, population 4. Al Route Mayor!” Being a rural metropolis as it were, the neighboring area would trade at the store allowing Marlene the opportunity to meet and know a lot of people. She always enjoyed power outages because the entire neighborhood would come to the store for ice cream. She said it was a great social time. There was a lilac hedge that separated the store from the family’s home. Her father would sit behind the hedge to hide when there were no customers. One day, young Marlene decided the hedge needed to go! She couldn’t explain why she did it, even relaying this story to her own children. One might say it was the beginning to her independence and individuality.

Marlene attended a one room school, grades 1-8. The school was within view of her home in Ubet, so she could walk or bicycle to school. One of the more memorable items of the route to school was a pea vinery. These vineries were notorious for the pungent smell of the fermenting compost. Needless to say, it made for a brisk walk in that area! She attended St. Croix High School in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. While in high school, her brother Jim bought a 1929 Chevrolet for $25. He asked if she would like to own half the car for $12.50. She agreed, and brother and sister proceeded to have many vehicular adventures, never licensing the vehicle. Marlene once drove the car to the town of Amery, after being told by her parents not to. The car remained in the siblings possession until the time when the engine crank got shoved through the radiator rendering the car useless. The pair sold the car for $25, making it a cheap ride for a while.
After graduation from St. Croix Falls High School in 1949, she would take a job in St. Paul, Minnesota at Montgomery Ward, and would commute to and from St. Croix Falls by train on the weekends. She was secretary to the President of Montgomery Ward and would hone her shorthand skills by listening to the songs on the radio and transcribing the words. She said it was a great way to practice and said it was fun. She enjoyed living in St. Paul. She shared a room with a friend in a boarding house. One weekend, while home in St. Paul, Marlene along with her parents attended a high school football game at St. Croix to watch Jim play. It was his senior year. It just so happened a young man from an area farm, along with his nephews were there to watch the game as well. Lester Peterson, it seems, could not take his eyes off of Marlene, and proceeded to go over to her and her folks. He introduced himself and after talking for a bit, asked her parents if he might drive her home. They said he could.

A month later, using the “old broken-down car on the railroad tracks” method, Les proposed to Marlene. A few months later the couple would be married on February 17, 1952 at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Sand Lake, Wisconsin. It was a family affair on all sides; Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, Nieces, Nephews and Cousins doing everything for the wedding day. Everything from the bridesmaids to the baker was a family affair. After a honeymoon trip to Arizona and California, the couple made their new home just outside of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. In late November of 1952, the couple’s first child, Jeff was born. Then in early September of 1954 a second child, Jim was born. The growing family moved to Wyoming, Minnesota at which time a third child was born, Paul, in early May 1957.

Having been through Arizona on their honeymoon, and having relatives there, the young family made the move to Arizona in 1958. Les packed a trailer for moving and Marlene made one last final purchase, a beautiful, large round oak coffee table. Les graciously repacked the trailer to include the table. She always laughed about it and said he wasn’t too thrilled, but he was able to include it in their move. The oak table is still with us today. Leaving family and friends behind, it was a new adventure out west. The family proceeded to move numerous times between Arizona and Colorado, and while living in the Delta area, their fourth child, Linnea was born in early December, 1964.

Another move back to Arizona and then finally to Cortez in 1968. Marlene was instrumental, along with Les, in starting and building a family business, Peterson’s Auto Body and Frame. She worked as the bookkeeper at the family business. She also worked at State Farm Insurance. She was an active member with the Montezuma Presbyterian Church and a lifelong member with the Lakeview Harmony Club. She enjoyed being involved in organizations that would help others.
Marlene had a great way of making new friends and long-lasting relationships wherever she was. Friendships that would last her entire life. She was a gracious hostess and always had room at the table for an extra plate and a spare bed for family or friends staying over. She was a positive person, always one with a kind word and a special laugh that was contagious to all. She was easy to talk to and confide in. Through many moves, one would be hard pressed to remember a time when she wasn’t there for her family. She had a way of making the most of the least. Everything from meals to Christmas and everything in between. We were not a money rich family, but nobody went without. She raised her family with great love and taught us many life lessons that we will cherish forever. After losing her son, Jeff, she was the glue that kept the family together. She asked for nothing in return, because she knew that love should not ask, but give. She was the pillar for our family. Marlene and Les always worked together for the well-being of their family.

Marlene loved being outdoors growing flowers and enjoyed weekend campouts and Sunday drives to visit friends and share a potluck. She was artistic and loved to crochet. During the evenings, she would crochet beautiful afghans for family and friends to give as gifts. She also made several quilts, painted ceramic and did oil painting. After retirement, she and Les were able to go on many adventures and brought home wonderful stories and photos to share. In the year of 2022 and on February 17th, Marlene and Les were able to experience their 70th year of marriage. A few days later on February 20th, the love of her life, her soul mate, passed away. She fought hard after Les passed, but with her overall health in decline, and moreover, a genuine sadness and longing, for the one she loved, Marlene arrived at a point of peace and at that time she went home.

Marlene passed away peacefully at home, June 8, 2022. She raised a host of family and friends who will always have a place in their hearts to honor a woman who made sure everyone was welcome. Words are not enough to describe a person who loved every moment with all whom she knew and loved, all of the things she did and the life she lived. May God bless you, and may you rest in peace. We know you are with Les and Jeff now. Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, and we will meet again. We love you now and forever.

Marlene was preceded in death by her husband, Lester; son, Jeff; parents, Albert and Ruth Route; and brother, Neal Route. She was survived by her children, Jim Peterson of Cortez, Paul Peterson of Cortez and Linnea Peterson of Dolores; four grandchildren, Sarah Vass of Cortez, Clare Vass of Dolores, Hannah Peterson of Cortez and Noah Peterson of Cortez; brother, Jim Route of St. Croix, Wisconsin; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In honor of Marlene’s wishes, no services will be held. Any memorial contributions can be made to your favorite charity in Marlene’s name.

To order memorial trees in memory of Marlene June Peterson, please visit our tree store.


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