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Obituary for Shirley Peterson, My Mother


Shirley Pollard Peterson

May 1, 1921 – January 20, 2010
Died in Colorado Springs, CO. Formerly of Walnut Creek, Oakland and Piedmont, CA.
Shirley was born in Oakland, California to Frank and Sadie Pollard.  She graduated from Piedmont High School (1939) and the University of California, Berkeley (1943).  While at Cal she majored in Public Speaking and was a Pi Beta Phi.  After graduation she worked for the Navy on Treasure Island and with her father’s manufacturing business.  One of the heartaches of her life was the lost of her younger brother Frank “Bud” Pollard Jr., an Army Air Pilot, during World War II.

As President of the Oakland Junior League she helped found the Oakland Junior Center of Arts. She was the first recipient of the Rosalie M. Stern award for outstanding volunteer work by a Berkeley graduate. In 1968 Shirley took on the job of the first “development person” with the Head Royce School. During her five year tenure she was intricately involved in the transition into the co-ed institution now known as the Head-Royce School.  She then helped her husband found and operate a construction company until their retirement. She was an active volunteer at both Piedmont Community Church and LOPC.

Shirley married her high school sweetheart, the late Alden “Pete” Peterson on January 17, 1947.  They were the proud parents of Ann Alden Zeise (Fred) of Milpitas, CA; Frank Pollard Peterson (Sue) of Missoula, MT,  and Carol Peterson Hennekens (Dave) of Colorado Springs, CO.  They were blessed with five grandchildren (Sara Dodge Ellsworth, Travis Peterson, Scott Zeise, Dustin Peterson and Colton Peterson) and two step-grandchildren (Ellyece Hennekens Hammer and Derek Hennekens).  Gavin Dodge Ellsworth was her one beloved great-grandchild.  Mom always considered her family to be her greatest accomplishment.

Pete and Shirley retired to Rossmoor in Walnut Creek where they lead an active life of golf, swimming, Rotary and various family and social activities.  Much of their time was spent at their mountain retreat in Graeagle, California.  Shirley was a devoted caregiver for Pete during his fight with cancer which ended in 1996.  She was a strong and independent widow who traveled and organized many events for family and friends.
When her health declined in 2005, she moved to Colorado Springs to be near her daughter Carol.  She enjoyed several years of independent living at Liberty Heights.  In this last year, she lived with Carol and Dave.  Many wonderful caregivers, most notably Karla Campbell, made her final days comfortable.   She “caught her bus” as she was known to say, in the gentle care of Pikes Peak Hospice after a brief final illness.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 2121 South Towne Centre Place, Suite 300, Anaheim, CA 92806, or a charity of your choice.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 13, at 2 p.m. at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Dr. Lafayette, CA. Reception will follow.