Georgia Lea Petersen
February 2, 1938 ~ April 29, 2014
Resident of Saratoga
Georgia ("Georgie") Lea Higgins Petersen was born in Long Beach, CA in 1938 to George C. Higgins and Helen M. Higgins as the second of three children. The Higgins family had just recently relocated from Arizona to Long Beach, where they became deeply involved in Geneva Presbyterian Church in Long Beach (formerly known as Second Presbyterian Church). Georgie's father, George, worked for a meat company and later served as distributing agent of Atlantic Richfield Corporation. He was a leader in the National Presbyterian Church. Her mother, Helen, was a member of E-bel, PEO, and also a leader in the National Presbyterian Church. Georgie was very proud of her parents' service in their church and community, a legacy which she continued.
Georgie attended Wilson High School, graduating in 1954, and then the University of Redlands, where she met her husband Marshall of Whittier, California. They married in 1960. Georgie and Marshall lived in many communities during the early years of their marriage. Their first son, David, was born in 1962 in California; their second son, Steven, arrived in 1964 in Westminster, California; their daughters, Karen and Jennifer, were born in Lyndhurst, Ohio in 1967 and 1972 respectively. After 15 years in Ohio, including two years in Cincinnati, the Petersen family moved to Saratoga, California, to the house which became Georgie's permanent and cherished home.
Georgie was a full–time mother who was deeply involved in the lives of her children. She served on the Parent-Teacher Association of every school her children attended. Her fundraising projects at Lynbrook High School were especially significant and included the creation of an Athletic Boosters Club. In fact, fundraising was Georgie's gift; her family joked that all she had to do was open her mouth, for people to open their wallets! She was instrumental in creating a district fundraising initiative called SuperSchools, and eventually left the volunteering world to serve as Director of Development for Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, California. Georgie continued to be active in worship and service, first at Saratoga Federated Church and then, beginning in the 1990's, at Saratoga Presbyterian Church, which became her beloved church home. In all these settings, Georgie's presence was characterized by love, elegance, hospitality, generosity, compassion and a sense of fun.
Georgie died on the evening of April 29, 2014, after a long struggle with dementia. She is preceded in death by her parents, George and Helen; by her husband of 34 years, Marshall Arthur Petersen; by her sister, Nancy Higgins Henderson and her brother, Lawrence Higgins. She is mourned by her children—David, Steven, Karen and Jenny—and her children-in-law-- Laura, Kevin and John—as well as by 7 grandchildren. Georgie was interred at Madronia Cemetery on May 3, and a memorial service will be held at 2 pm on May 17, 2014 at Saratoga Presbyterian Church, 20455 Herriman Road in Saratoga. Memorial gifts in Georgie's honor may be made payable to the Development Office of the University of Redlands, 1200 East Colton Ave., P.O. Box 3080, Redlands, CA, 92373, Tel: (909) 793-2121.