Dr. Mary J. (Miller) Pettersen

Dr. Mary J. Pettersen (nee Miller), age 84, of Hammond, passed away Saturday, May 11, 2013.She is survived by her son, Charles V. Pettersen; sister-in-law, Marie Miller; niece, Carol Ann (Profian) DeSuza; and nephews: Andrew Miller and Adam (Karen) Miller. Mary was preceded in death by her parents: Dewey S. and Opal G. Miller (nee Becker); and her brother, Alfred D. Miller. Mary Jean was born on a farm near Maquoketa, IA on December 28, 1928. As a young girl, she was educated in a one room school house and graduated from Maquoketa High School in 1946. She received her B.A. Degree from the University of Iowa in 1950. In 1959, Mary received her M.S. Degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She was then offered a job teaching in Hammond, moving there with her five year old son, Charles. From 1959 to 1989, she taught chemistry at Morton High School in Hammond, while serving as Science Dept. Chairman for several years. Mary received her Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Iowa, after completing her course work during summer vacations and doing an in-service training program in science education for elementary school teachers in Hammond which was her thesis project. Beginning in 1979, she also served as State Representative for District 1 (later District 11); she was elected as a Democrat and served four consecutive terms (eight years) as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives; she was honored by the voters trust. In 1988, Mary was nominated by the Indiana Democratic State Convention as the Democratic Candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Though she was defeated in the general election, she received such large vote margins in Lake County that they helped to ensure the victory of Governor Evan Bayh. In 1989, Mary was appointed by Gov. Bayh as the first female Director of the Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund. As Director, she worked with the Indiana Legislature to implement a plan to eliminate the Fund's unfunded liability. Mary also worked with many others to successfully amend the Indiana Constitution to allow Indiana's Pension Funds to invest in stocks. Her work is helping to make Teachers and other Public Employees Pensions more secure. Mary was a longtime member and served as President of the League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area. Dr. Mary J. Pettersen was also greatly honored by being named as a "Sagamore of the Wabash" by Gov. Evan Bayh. Mary J. Pettersen will be dearly missed by her family, and yet we are grateful for her life and love. Funeral services will be held Friday, May 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM at LaHAYNE FUNERAL HOME, 6955 Southeastern Ave., Hammond, IN. Private interment in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Maquoketa, IA. Friends are invited to meet with the family on Thursday, May 16, 2013 from 3:00 PM until 8:00 PM at LaHAYNE FUNERAL HOME. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area or to the . For further information regarding services, please contact LaHAYNE FUNERAL HOME at (219) 845-3600 or visit our website at www.lahaynefuneralhome.com.

Funeral Home

LaHayne Funeral Home - Hammond
6955 Southeastern Avenue  Hammond, IN 46324
(219) 845-3600

Published in The Times from May 15 to May 17, 2013