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Toledo, OH 43613
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Mary "Jill" Peterson

1943 - 2019
Mary "Jill" Peterson Obituary
(News story) Mary "Jill" Peterson, a former Toledo-area business owner who was a longtime community volunteer, died Nov. 11 at her home in Lucas County's village of Holland. She was 76.

She died of complications from Parkinson's disease, her husband of 55 years, Larry Peterson, said.

Mrs. Peterson co-owned the former Kaleidoscope Needlepoint shop for 17 years - first on Reynolds Road near Central Avenue and then on Main Street in downtown Sylvania - from the mid-1990s when she bought her portion of the business until it closed about a decade ago.

She also was a past president of the Junior League of Toledo, where she was a member of more than 40 years, serving as president from 1989 to 1990.

"Jill always had a gentle demeanor, but she was very firm in her understanding of leadership and her commitment to volunteerism," Olivia Summons, also a Junior League of Toledo past president, said.

She had also served throughout the years on the boards of Grace Community Center, Planned Parenthood, Sight Center of Northwest Ohio, Toledo Area Alumnae Panhellenic Council, Toledo Botanical Garden, Toledo Museum of Art Ambassadors, and United Way of Greater Toledo.

"She was a gentle, compassionate leader and mentor. And that by far was the most important for her. It was about helping others and enabling women to reach their potential. She provided thoughtful guidance to those she enabled," Mr. Peterson said.

He added that she also "loved running her own business because of her passion for doing needlepoint projects and teaching others how to needlepoint."

Mrs. Peterson was born Sept. 19, 1943, in Decatur, Ill., to Frankie and Leroy Cussins.

She graduated in 1961 from Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, where her family had moved when she was 2 years old. She later continued her education at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

She married Larry Peterson in 1964 and, two years later, graduated cum laude from Bradley University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

She and her husband then moved to Glendale, Ariz., where she taught first grade at a local elementary school until 1967, when they moved to Portland, Ore., so that her husband could start a job in international marketing.

Depending on his workplace, they later lived at different times in Peoria, Danville, and Kewanee, all in Illinois, before moving to Toledo in 1974.

"She was a compassionate, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and a true friend to many," he said.

Whatever time Mrs. Peterson had left after running her business and volunteering was spent with family and friends, including traveling with her husband to Palm Island in Florida and Lanai Island in Hawaii.

She was a member of Sylvania United Church of Christ. Her other memberships included Stone Oak Country Club and the Toledo Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club.

Along with her husband, surviving are her son, Tad Peterson; daughter, Erin Peterson; brother, Jack Cussins; and four grandchildren.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 28 at the church, 7240 Erie St., Sylvania, to be immediately followed by a luncheon until 2 a.m. at Stone Oak Country Club, 100 Stone Oak Blvd. in Holland.

Arrangements are by the Ansberg-West Funeral Directors.

The family suggests tributes to the Junior League of Toledo endowment campaign.

This is a news story by Mike Sigov. Contact him at [email protected], 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.
Published in The Blade on Dec. 1, 2019
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