Iona Peterson Reiver
AGE: 97 • Wilmington, Del.
Iona Peterson Reiver, age 97, of Wilmington, died January 18, 2017 following a short illness.
She was the fifth of six children born to Andrew and Agda Peterson, Swedish immigrants. She was raised on the family farm in Bridgeville, DE, where she attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. She attended University of Delaware (initially Women's College) on an academic scholarship, graduating in 1941.
During her freshman year, Julius Reiver, a senior and campus VIP, caught her eye. She invited him to the Sadie Hawkins dance, and he accepted, sparking a lifelong romance. As Iona put it, "we just continued dancing down the years." They were married three days after her college graduation. While Jules served in the Army and fought overseas during WW II, Iona was raising two small children in their Wilmington home. Two more children were born after his return home.
She designed their simple north Wilmington home with a "great room" unusual for its time, promoting family interaction. Iona encouraged Jules and their children to explore, read, learn, develop their interests and hobbies, be playful, and engage life fully with strength, understanding, and humor. An inveterate punster, she encouraged this unfortunate trait in her children. The family home was a gathering spot for her children and their friends, often having a clubhouse atmosphere. Among Iona's papers she left a note with her credo: "A well kept house is the sign of a misspent life." She faced teenage rebellion and spats with equanimity and accepted tremendous losses philosophically. Despite life's challenges she fondly recalled that their family life was never dull. Iona maintained her interests and independence throughout her life.
Iona was central to the lives of her children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces, and also remained close to family friends whose children and grandchildren she treated as her own. She was a loving inspiration, steady influence, and role model to all.
Iona was predeceased by her husband, Julius Reiver; son, Daniel L. Reiver; grandson, William McCurdy DeMarino; five siblings, three sisters-in-law; two nephews and one niece. She is survived by her brother-in-law, Ernie Reiver, of Wilmington; three children: son A. Ted Reiver and wife Ann, of Wilmington; daughter Joanna Reiver and husband Arnold "Skip" Rosoff, of Wilmington; daughter, Betsy DeMarino Weisbrod and husband Ed Weisbrod, of West Chester, PA; four grandchildren: Pamela R. Marts and husband Doug Marts of Pennsville, NJ; Amelia R, Schlusser and husband Doug Sheldon of Portland, OR; Daniel R. Schlusser of Kennett Square, PA; Alex R. DeMarino and wife Noelle Rose DeMarino of West Chester, PA; two great-grandchildren, Carter Marts and Blake Marts; six step-grandchildren; and 18 nephews and nieces.
Friends and family may visit from 2 to 3 pm on Sunday February 12, 2017 at the Chandler Funeral Home, 2506 Concord Pike, Wilmington where a Celebration of Life will begin at 3 pm followed by a reception. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to your favorite charity
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