Evans Funeral Home

"Compassionate Funeral Service"

Carrington and New Rockford, North Dakota
701.652.3003 or 701.947.2911

Secondary Number ~ 701.650.9937

Mari Ann Peterson

Mari Ann (McDonald) Peterson, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, passed away peacefully on October 7, 2023, at the age of 98 at Golden Acres Manor. She was born on November 13, 1924, near Melville, North Dakota to parents DeEtta (Bennett) McDonald and William Howard McDonald from Carrington, North Dakota. The family moved to a small farm near Maza, North Dakota when she was a young child. She attended school in small rural schools until she graduated from the 8th grade. From there she went to high school in Churchs Ferry and Devils Lake. She was granted a teaching certificate to teach in the rural schools of North Dakota, and so began a long career of teaching which she loved.

Mari Ann was a lifelong learner, educator, and college graduate. To know her was to love her. She met Roland ‘Pete’ Peterson while attending college at Valley City State Teachers College, and they were married on June 2, 1952, at the Federated Church in Carrington, North Dakota. They remained in a joyful union for over 64 years until Pete’s passing on September 7, 2016.

They joyfully welcomed their firstborn, Tammi Peterson Mitchell, in 1957 while they were teaching together in Katherine, North Dakota. Following several moves to teach around North Dakota, they headed west, first to Washington state to teach where Pete continued his education and received his first of 2 Master’s degrees. They then headed southwest and settled in Tigard, Oregon where their second daughter, Kylie Beth (Peterson) Hensley was happily welcomed into the family in 1962. At this point, Mari Ann took a break from teaching to be a full-time mom to Tammi and Kylie and she delighted in every minute spent with her precious girls. Once Kylie was ready to start school Mari Ann was ready to head back to teaching. She was hired by the principal of J Clyde Hopkins Elementary School in Sherwood Oregon, and spent the next 18 years teaching first graders reading, writing, and arithmetic as well as good manners, how to have fun, and how to be good, well-rounded citizens. She continued teaching and Pete continued his career as a Vice Principal in the Beaverton School District. After many years of shaping these young, delightful first graders, she decided it was time to retire in 1983. She and Pete continued to live in Tigard until they decided it was time to return to North Dakota in 1995.

While living in the Pacific Northwest, they enjoyed everything the region had to offer. Mari Ann loved the beautiful scenery of Oregon and was especially enamored with the awesome beauty of Mount Hood. It wasn’t unusual for her to exclaim, “My mountain, my mountain!” when Mount Hood came into view. One of Mari Ann’s favorite things to do in the summer was take the girls strawberry and raspberry picking. Then she would make wonderful strawberry and raspberry jam that would be shared with very appreciative neighbors and friends. It was delicious! Mari Ann and Pete made several family trips to Hawaii and fell in love with the islands. They also enjoyed visiting with both sides of their extended family on the West Coast and regularly made trips back to North Dakota during the summers for family reunions, talent shows, and to enjoy the beautiful scenery – fields of waving grain and smiling sunflowers.

To say Mari Ann loved to travel is an understatement. In retirement, she enjoyed several trips overseas traveling with Kylie to many countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. She also took trips with her sisters to Ireland, Provence, and France. She and Pete also made several more trips to Hawaii when Don, Kylie’s husband, was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Mari Ann and Pete enjoyed many visits and trips with Tammi, Kevin, and their daughter RoAnna and Kylie, Don, and their daughter Arianna over the years. Mari Ann also loved learning about her ancestors and became a member of both the Mayflower Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution as a byproduct of Tammi’s genealogical research while living in the Washington D.C. area.

Mari Ann’s daughters are both college graduates and are married to loving devoted husbands who loved and admired Mari Ann very much. She loved her son-in-laws like they were her own kids. Mari Ann was overjoyed to have two wonderful granddaughters – Tammi and Kevin’s daughter RoAnna and Kylie and Don’s daughter Arianna. She delighted in them as much if not more than her daughters, and they brought her great joy over the years. Mari Ann will also be remembered for her strong faith in Jesus, quiet grace, elegance, and determination. She possessed unwavering strength of spirit to always peacefully carry on with love and gratitude for God’s gift of life. She would be the first to tell you that she had much to be thankful for and enjoyed a wonderful life filled with fun, laughter, and wonderful friends. One of the most important things Mari Ann taught her daughters was to love Jesus and follow Him all the days of their lives. Mari Ann lived out her faith and while we are deeply saddened by her passing and will miss her deeply, we do not mourn as those who have no hope but know that we will see her again one day in Heaven.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her older sister Ellen, her younger sister Wilma, her younger brother Gene, her precious grandson Kristopher Roland, and her loving husband Pete. Survivors include daughter Tammi Peterson Mitchell, her husband Kevin, and their daughter RoAnna, of Happy Valley, Oregon; Kylie Beth Hensley, her husband Don, and their daughter Arianna, of Fairfax, Virginia; her younger sister, Clarice Payne, of Kennewick, Washington; and many nieces and nephews.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the staff at Golden Acres Manor where Mom was a resident. Over the years they became her (and our) “second family”, and we have deep gratitude for the kindness, compassion, love, and dignity that they showed her.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26


Mari Ann’s Funeral Service will be held on Monday, October 23, 2023, at 10:00 AM at Evans Funeral Home, Carrington, ND.

Her Burial will be at the Lakota Cemetery.


Posted Condolences:


  1. It was a privilege to be her Son-in-law. I am extremely grateful for all of the good times we got to spend together for so many years. I very much admired how she could keep her own counsel while clearly communicating what she thought was best.
    My Father-in-law Roland ‘Pete’ Peterson was always known as Mr. Lucky. My Mother-in-law, Mari Ann, is the reason why.
    To be in her presence was to know grace and elegance.

  2. I have so many memories of Mari Ann and Pete. Only knew them for a few years. I would tell Mari Ann I was from Cando and she remembered I knew her friends, so I was a friend. When I hear the Honor Flight is happening; I think of Pete. My sympathy to her family and friends.

  3. Mari Ann was my favorite and best teacher of all my 12 years of school in Kathryn, ND.
    She and “Pete” were both influential in the person I grew to be.
    I enjoyed stopping to visit with them when they retired in Carrington.

  4. I have many joyful memories of our families getting together when I was growing up and staying with Tammi when I was little. I always remember Aunt Mari Ann, as I called her, as such a beautiful graceful person.


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