Dolores Petterson, age 95, of Wheaton, MN passed away Saturday, February 5, 2022 at the Sanford Wheaton Hospital in Wheaton, MN.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Wheaton with Dr. Michael Cieniawski officiating. Pianist will be Tom Petterson with special music provided by Tom Petterson, Sydney Hlavka and Summer Hlavka. Honorary urn bearers will be Dolores’ grandchidldren.
Visitation will be held one hour prior to service time at the church.
Burial will be held at a later date.
Dolores (Aukes) Petterson was born on July 30, 1926 on her paternal grandparents’ farm near Steen, Minnesota in Rock County. She grew up with parents, Dick and Florence (Evert) Aukes in Redpath Township in Traverse County, near Wheaton, where she spent the rest of her life.
From the very beginning Dolores was profoundly devoted to school and education. She attended District 14 Elementary School in Redpath Township. She often mentioned what it was like going to country school during the depression with all the dust storms, riding to school on a horse, sometimes with three other young neighbor kids on the same horse. Also, she would tell how the teacher had the kids stuff wet paper towels in the windows to keep out the dust and they lit lanterns during the day as it was too dark to see in the schoolroom. She graduated from Tintah High School in 1944. In 1945 she graduated from the Wheaton High School Norman Training Department. She graduated from Moorhead St. College in 1961 with a Bachelors of Arts degree and later received her Master’s Degree from Moorhead State College in 1969.
Dolores first taught school in four country schools in Traverse County. When the country schools were closed in the 1950’s, Dolores and her students were moved into Tintah Elementary School. She taught in Tintah until moving to Wheaton Elementary School in 1957. She taught sixth grade Social Studies, teaching a total of forty years before retiring in 1991.
Dolores met Phil Petterson, an electrician for Swift Electric in Wheaton, MN, while he was wiring country schools. The country schools had no electricity until that time. Phil later owned Swift Electric in Wheaton for thirty-five years. They were married on October 21, 1947 and were married for a total of sixty-seven years. Two boys, Bruce and Kyle, were born respectively in 1948 and 1953.
In addition to education, Dolores also loved music. She played piano, organ, sang in choirs, and gave piano lessons for about twenty-five years. She was very active in the Wheaton Presbyterian Church, volunteering in many capacities, music being a priority. She made sure that all of her grandkids had a piano to play, lessons included. She attended any and every musical event possible. Dolores served on many different boards in Traverse County, her love of history evident always. She was a very creative teacher, starting many new programs and classes. Examples were Teacher’s Creative Fair, Classes for Gifted Students and Studies in Ecology. She pioneered the first recycling programs in Traverse County. Her later years in teaching were not from textbooks, but rather, from individual units she created. Those units were stored in egg crates. Students relished her teaching style- the individualism, and the freedom to learn in other ways other than from books alone.
She created a one room school in Wheaton on property she purchased. The building had been an old carriage house; she remodeled it completely into an exact replica of a country school. The school featured many artifacts and antiques from her days as a country school teacher. It remains today, intact, just as she left it. After her retirement from teaching, she invited and taught “one room school” at that school building to many Wheaton Elementary School classes.
Dolores and Phil loved spending time at their Little Pine Lake cabin near Perham, MN, purchased in 1964. Most summer family gatherings were held there, all immensely enjoying the lake and lake activities. They also loved to travel, making many trips to different parts of the United States.
Dolores is survived by her children: Bruce (Sandra) Petterson of Hutchinson, MN; and Kyle Petterson of Menahga, MN; five grandchildren: Chad (Deanna) Petterson, Amber (Christopher) Hlavka, Raku (Cullen) Schmitt, Luke Petterson and Tom (Flora) Petterson. Also surviving are three sisters; one sister-in-law; and eight great-grandchildren.
Dolores was preceded in death by her husband in 2014; her parents; four brothers; one sister; one sister-in-law; and daughter-in-law Karen Petterson.
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