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Life Story / Obituary
On July 13, 1930 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Charles and Cornelia (Klaver) Reitsma welcomed a daughter, Jane Dorothy, into their family. As the youngest child, Jane would grow up in the company of her 2 brothers and sister. Raised on the southeast side of Grand Rapids, Jane attended the local Christian schools and throughout her life was a member at either First Protestant Reformed Church or Southeast Protestant Reformed Church. After graduating from Grand Rapids Christian, Jane continued her schooling at Calvin College where she earned her teaching degree.
While attending Calvin, she was touring with the choir, and on that trip, she met Roland Peterson. The two began dating and married on April 15, 1954. After a couple of years they would complete their family with the birth of their daughter, Mariel. A few years later they bought a home on Oaklawn Street NE from his parents and would make this their home for the rest of their lives.
After graduating college, Jane taught elementary students for a few years at Adams Street Christian School. But most of her teaching years were spent at Hope Christian School where she had the opportunity to engage with many of the students through her role as a reading specialist.
Since both Jane and Roland were teachers, they were able to spend time in the summer traveling. The family often packed their pop-up camper and headed to various mountainous regions of the United States and Canada.
The family also took advantage of summertime for canning fruits, vegetables and meats that they could use while on trips and throughout the rest of the year. While home, Jane enjoyed reading and playing games. She also spent time sewing, a skill she learned from her mother. Jane loved to cook and was not afraid to try new recipes. She would experiment with different ethnic cookbooks from around the world. Not to be forgotten at a meal was her famous desserts.
Faith in her Savior was the foundation of Jane’s life and she was an active member at church. She sang in the choir and was involved in other church activities, often serving quietly behind the scenes.
Jane was blessed with three grandchildren. Although they lived quite a distance away, they each were able to spend some time with Jane and Roland during the summer. Later in life, Jane grew closer to them as she wintered near their home in Florida. She was a teacher at heart, and taught her grandchildren a variety of things, from recipes to songs.
The last several years, Jane has spent much of the winter in Florida and summers in Grand Rapids. But as her health continued to decline, she spent more time in Florida, allowing her family to care for her.
Jane D. Petersen, age 89 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on July 20, 2019 while with her daughter in Vero Beach, Florida. Jane was preceded in death by her husband, Roland, in 1999; by sister Alice Reitsma, by brothers Rev. Carl Reitsma and Peter Reitsma and by sister-in-law Nell Reitsma. Jane is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Mariel & Glenn Grevengoed; grandchildren Dania, Lincoln and Carissa; sister-in-law, Dorothy Reitsma; as well as many nieces and nephews. Her funeral service will be held on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 10.30 a.m. at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE, where friends are invited to visit with her family on Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Hope Christian School, Walker Michigan are appreciated. To share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com