Cover photo for Joyce Jean Petersen's Obituary
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1931 Joyce Jean Petersen 2024

Joyce Jean Petersen

January 15, 1931 — March 17, 2024

Joyce, born January 15, 1931 in Battle Creek, IA, spent most of her life in Crawford County — growing up on her Johannsen farm west of Schleswig and living 75+ years in the town of Schleswig, IA. She was baptized and confirmed in the United Church of Christ and was one of approximately 20 students in Soldier Township Country School #1 until high school. Joyce passed on March 17, 2024, at age 93, and is home with her beloved husband, William J, and parents Adela (Johannsen) and Hugo Jensen, who are interred in Morgan Cemetery. 

After graduating as valedictorian in Schleswig High’s Class of 1949, Joyce attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA where she began her studies in elementary education. Marriage to Wm J “Bill” Petersen on July 15, 1951, interrupted her studies, although she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Morningside College while teaching. 

Joyce and Bill were blessed with three children: Timothy Hugh, Joel William and Roxanne Adel. Joyce pursued her teaching career, beginning in Crawford County rural schools, and then teaching first grade in Ida Grove for five years before her 15 years as Schleswig Elementary School’s kindergarten teacher. Joyce loved her many young pupils and counted their continued presence in her life as one of her numerous blessings. 

Joyce was recognized by her first Schleswig kindergarten class of graduates – the Class of 1980— and her address reminded all to follow the Golden Rule and live by the following advice: “There’s so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us, it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us!” -Author unknown 

In addition to full-time teaching, Joyce was active in the community as a congregant of the United Church of Christ (teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School), Board member of the Schleswig Public Library and Schleswig Retirement Homes, and on the Schleswig Community Betterment Committee. Joyce and her family actively broke ground for the public golf course, tennis courts and swimming pool. She put her creative talent to work building floats and costumes each year for her young family, participating in the annual Schlesfest, sewing, knitting and needlework, gardening, and baking her memorable tea rings, pepper nuts and desserts. She could also always be found clapping to the German Band. Joyce loved her bridge groups, bringing more friends into the world of bridge in her later years, and, of course, ballroom dancing. 

Joyce and Bill spent many happy hours on dance floors throughout Western Iowa, and they developed numerous friendships across the State around that hobby. Dancing sustained her even upon Bill’s death, when she and friend Bonard Christiansen continued seeking music. Joyce also loved to travel and she relished each new continent, country and experience. She wintered in Hilton Head, SC and always looked forward to babysitting in Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, and England. Joyce was well-cared for by the staff at Hidden Springs of McKinney, where she spent the final few years of her life near son Joel. 

Joyce is survived by three children: Tim (Massachusetts), Joel (Texas), and Roxanne (California), along with Joanne Catlin, Belinda Phelps-Petersen and Albert Richards, seven grandchildren: Sara (husband Brett) Carneiro, Megan (husband Chris) Lampen, and Daniel (wife Andrea) Petersen, Jessie (wife Amber) Spencer, William Richards (fiancé Sarah Kunst), Lauren Richards and Jonathan Richards, and eight great-grandchildren: Charlie, Wren and Silas Carneiro, Thomas and Alfred Lampen, Ainseley and Ada Petersen, and Lincoln Spencer. She leaves behind numerous students, friends and cousins whose world has been enriched by her presence. Joyce will be remembered for her love of life. She was a nurturer, whether in the classroom or in the flower beds. She worked hard, cared deeply and faithfully, and played often— watching ball games, and parents, and rejoicing with each graduation. Donations memorializing Joyce may be made to the Schleswig Community Elementary Schools Arts Fund 714 Date Street, Schleswig, Iowa 51461. 

Visitation with family greeting friends will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with her funeral service following at 11:00 a.m. all on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at the United Church of Christ in Schleswig. Interment will follow in the Morgan Cemetery near Schleswig. 

Her funeral service will be live streamed to the Schleswig United Church of Christ Facebook page. 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joyce Jean Petersen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation with Family Greeting Friends

Saturday, April 6, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

United Church of Christ

409 Maple Ave, Schleswig, IA 51461

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Funeral Service

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

United Church of Christ

409 Maple Ave, Schleswig, IA 51461

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