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Published September 24, 2013, 10:00 PM

Her Voice: Centenarian takes life ‘one day at a time’

FARGO – Grace Peterson is a sweet lady with a quiet disposition. She isn’t one to stress over life, and she’s always made herself available to help others, said her son, 80-year-old Gordon Peterson.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – Grace Peterson is a sweet lady with a quiet disposition.

She isn’t one to stress over life, and she’s always made herself available to help others, said her son, 80-year-old Gordon Peterson.

Grace turned 104 this week and had a party on Sunday to celebrate, which her 99-year-old sister, Florence Classon, attended.

“I just go one day at a time and whatever comes, comes,” Grace said.

She grew up on a farm between Arthur and Gardener, N.D. She was the oldest of four children.

Grace attended a country school before going to high school in Arthur. While growing up on the farm, she was responsible for milking cows in the evening and taking care of the chickens.

And as the oldest child, she also helped take care of her siblings, Grace said.

“When I was young I used to braid my sisters’ hair, but not one of them would braid mine,” she said.

Grace’s father died when she was 12. After her mother ran their car into the ditch, she had to do the driving, so Grace learned at a very young age, her son Gordon said.

“Those were hard times,” he said.

After high school, Grace attended business school for a semester or two before marrying Kermit Peterson. They had Gordon, a retired physician who now lives in Oregon, and their daughter Audrey, a nurse who died at age 50.

The Petersons lived in West Fargo, where Kermit was a school superintendent before becoming post master. Grace stayed home with her children, occasionally working part-time at a grocery store, as an elementary school cook or at St. John’s hospital, Gordon said.

“She has always been a very caring, loving, quiet, gentle person,” he said. “She nurtured and looked after my sister and me just remarkably. She was a woman of quiet faith.”

Religion has always been an important part of her life, said Grace, a lifelong Lutheran.

Grace, whose husband died in 1958, now lives in Fargo at Bethany Retirement Living.

Carol Holtz, a Bethany volunteer who has worked with Grace for almost a year, says Grace likes to talk and loves to be around other people.

Gordon said once while visiting his mother, he went to a Fargo store and when he mentioned his mother’s name to the clerk, she commented on what a wonderful person Grace is, he said.

“I’ve come to appreciate her more and more the older I get as I reflect back on the base that she and my father gave my sister and me,” Gordon said. Grace has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

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