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Missy Peterson

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Missy Orrick Peterson San Francisco native Mary-Louise "Missy" Orrick Peterson, 62, passed away at her home in Walla Walla, Wash., surrounded by family, on September 14, 2011. She died of pancreatic cancer. Missy was born on March 20, 1949, the eldest child of Marion Naffziger and the Hon. William H. Orrick, Jr. She attended the Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco, the National Cathedral School in Washington DC (while her father served in the Kennedy administration) and the Branson School in Ross, from which she graduated in 1966. Missy spent a year at Vassar and then transferred to UC Berkeley, graduating with a degree in drama in 1970. At Berkeley she met Alan Peterson, whom she wed in 1973. The couple moved to Washington state in 1974, settling in Walla Walla in 1983, where their children were born. During her 28 years in the Walla Walla valley, Missy devoted much of her time serving the community. In 2005, she helped start "Books for Babes," a community service program that provides books to newborns, encouraging parents to read to their babies, fostering literacy and providing the basis for a lifelong love of learning. This year Missy received a Community Leadership Award for her work. Beyond supporting students in their own educations, Missy lived her life in a way that serves as a model for lifelong learning. She read extensively, studied music, math, and languages, and received her pilot's license and earned her instrument rating. Missy's enthusiastic support for the pursuits and interests of her family and friends, most often expressed by her wide, unforgettable smile, will be forever treasured and remembered by those who knew her. Missy is survived by her husband, Dr. Alan P. Peterson, at home; a daughter, Laurel, of New Haven, Conn.; a son, William, at college in Vermont; a sister, Marion Orrick Livermore, of Moraga, Calif.; a brother, William H. Orrick, III, of Washington, DC; and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. A memorial service will be held at Grace Cathedral on December 5 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Books for Babes (PO Box 2995, Walla Walla, WA 99362) or to an educational institution of your choice.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 7, 2011
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