12/22/26 – 9/3/19
Mom left this life to join her husband, Jack, (John Wesley Barton Hughes) in heaven on September 3, 2019 at 5:28 am.
Mom was the third daughter born to Eva Herick Peterson and Leland Peterson. She was the 5th of 7 children. The first son, Gene died at 5 years and the first daughter, Verna, only lived 2 days. Eva and Leland adopted Evelyn, then Paddy, Doris, Mabel, Doug and Pete were born into the family. Mom was preceded by all but her closest sister, Doris Markham, who lives in Morton, WA. She is also preceded by one granddaughter.
Mom and Dad had 5 children, John Laurance (and Fay) of Shelton WA, Verna Jill Waltenspiel (widow of Tom) of Oakland, OR, Wesley Erwin (and Chris) of Canyonville, OR, Trudi Deen Moore (and Mike) of Days Creek, OR and Wendy Darlene Fredlund (and Gary) of Roseburg, OR. She also had 11 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren. There are also many nieces and nephews and one remaining sister-in-law, Joan Zumwalt of Gresham OR. Add to this the countless number of kids, grands, greats and great greats that mom claimed as her own.
Mom was born December 22, 1926 in Selby, South Dakota. She didn’t remember how long they lived in Selby, but she did remember living in Aberdeen, South Dakota until she was 9 ½. In July of 1936, her father bought a touring car, hired a driver, loaded everything they could into the car, along with his wife and himself, the driver and the children, Evelyn, Paddy, Doris and Mabel and headed for Oregon. One of mom’s best memories of that trip was the many long tunnels. She loved the lights and honking the horn as they went through, which was necessary as there were no lights in the tunnels at that time. To the end of her life, mom loved horns honking in tunnels. They got to visit Yellowstone National Park when it was new and Mt. Rushmore, which was only partly done. This must have been quite the adventure for a 9 ½ year old girl.
The Peterson family moved between Portland and Eugene - Springfield many, many times over the years. They lived in Springfield when mom met dad in 1942 at the mature age of 15. Mom had seen dad around and was attracted to him before she actually met him, but the first time he pulled into their drive she “hated” him because she thought he was another Jack that she really did dislike. The next time he came by, he brought his 13-year-old sister with him. Mom and Joan immediately hit it off and that made mom decide this Jack must be ok.
In March of 1943, Dad went into the Navy. Mom came to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to visit when he returned to Farragut Training Base after his boot camp leave. On June 24, 1943, while walking around town and sitting by the lake, they decided to get married and proceeded to do so. She was 16!! Mom soon returned to Eugene to live with her parents while dad was at sea.
When Dad’s ship was torpedoed in 1944, mom went to San Francisco so they could be together. When he shipped out again, just before their first anniversary, she moved home to Portland and worked in the Portland Woolen Mills until dad came home for good in November of 1945.
Soon, mom and dad moved south to the Eugene - Springfield area where dad started diesel mechanic school and mom worked in a laundry. Dad’s brother, Tude, who was living in Canyonville and working at his father-in-law’s sawmill, kept after dad to move down and make the big bucks. It wasn’t long before they headed south, again.
This was about the time mom quit working outside the home. This is when the babies started coming. The four oldest came pretty much every 18 months, then a 4-year break before the last baby. Five babies in ten years. That’s a lot of babies.
Mom worked hard all her life, making homes out of some pretty questionable houses. Some of her transformations were akin to the fairy godmother, the pumpkin and the carriage. Mom’s magic wand was love. She loved dad to distraction and she loved her babies. No matter how big the cracks in the walls or roof, mom would stuff them full of love and newspaper and everything was fine.
Dad’s dad, (Pop) and the Lein Brothers discovered Uranium up above Tiller. No doubt, we were all going to be rich. Pop converted 3 school busses into 3 early version motor homes and in the spring of 1955, we all went up the River. Pop in one bus, The Lein Brothers in one and Mom, Dad, Jack, Jill, Wes and Trudi in the last one. Shortly, they learned the Uranium wasn’t of a high enough grade for the government to want it, so no one got rich. That summer created in the whole family, a life-long love for the South Umpqua River. Mom and dad lived on the river in a variety of places until September of 1974.
Mom got her GED in 1967 or 8 and started attending nursing school through Umpqua Community College. Although she loved going to school and the nursing program, she loved dad more and living 50 miles apart all week wasn’t working for them so she gave it up. She also worked for a short time as the office cleaning lady at the Tiller Ranger Station.
Mom and dad loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing or just driving around in the woods made them happy. And living off the land was a way of life.
By 1974, all the children were grown and Jack and Mabel bought a small house on Civil Bend in Winston, OR, where they lived until Dad’s passing in 2010. Mom continued to live in their home until 2013 when she moved to Adam’s House in Myrtle Creek, OR. While mom came to consider Adam’s House home, it was difficult for her, especially at first. She was used to having a lot of time to herself and living in basically a really large house full of other people just wasn’t her cup of tea. But she came to enjoy the interaction with the other residents, especially her tablemates and the staff. She became very close to some of the staff and was definitely a favorite of everyone there.
We would like to thank everyone who helped make moms last weeks as comfortable as possible. Mercy hospital third floor staff was wonderful, with some of the nurses even French braiding mom’s hair each day so she would be more comfortable. The staff at Adam’s House went above and beyond in their care and concern for mom. I know a lot of them looked on her as a grandmother and she felt the same towards them. Amedysis Hospice staff was gentle and loving and eased her passing for all of us. Iris Butler, our little sister by other parents, was there from her first night in the hospital, whenever, whatever and however we needed her. And so many others who offered help, love, prayer and to sit with mom when we needed a moment or an hour. You are all so much appreciated. Mom loved you.
Please join the family on Sunday, September 15, from 1:30 to 4:30 at the Javelin Ormond Community Center in Canyonville, Oregon to celebrate our mom’s life. A potluck will follow. Please share your memories of our mom.