Obituaries » Dorothy Ruth Peterson
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The family will hold a private celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to “The Green Tree Library Fund for the LeClaire Community Library” in memory of D.R. Peterson.
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Peterson, Dorothy Ruth (Hoag) Known by the initials “D.R.” her entire life, D.R. Peterson passed away March 19, 2022 at the Heritage Community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was born December 4, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Davenport, IA on the Mississippi River. A favorite childhood memory was of her mother using the car ferry as a babysitter for D.R. and her siblings while their mother went grocery shopping. They would ride the ferry back and forth across the Mississippi and secretly hope that mother was not back yet when they returned to the Iowa side, which meant they got to go back and forth again! D.R. graduated from Davenport High School, attended Drake University and graduated from the University of Iowa, playing cello in the orchestras and getting a degree in fine arts.
She met her first husband, Robert Humiston, at the University of Iowa. They settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan and had four children together. She played cello in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra until raising four children and her increasing passion for the art of batik took over. She was also active in the Vine Neighborhood Association and designed the logo that appeared then on the cover of their newsletters. One of her batiks won a prize in a Battle Creek art show, which pushed her batik work into high gear. She showed and sold her batiks at regional art fairs, including in Kalamazoo and Galena, Illinois. In the 1980s, after she and Robert divorced, D.R. returned to school as a commuter student at the Kendall School of Design in Grand Rapids, MI to receive another degree in graphic arts.
In 1993, in celebration of the Year of the American Craft, artisans from around the country were invited by the White House to contribute ornaments for the Blue Room Christmas tree, using the theme of angels. D.R. created an angel ornament that was hung on the tree and now resides in a collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The ornament was featured briefly, full screen, in a national television news broadcast about the tree, which was a thrill for her to see!
In 1993, she married her second husband, Douglas Peterson. In 1998, after he retired from his second career as a lawyer, D.R. and Doug moved to LeClaire, Iowa, where she could live on her beloved Mississippi River once again. In LeClaire, D.R. owned and operated the Green Tree Emporium, an eclectic shop of used stuff, named after a tree that had been a famous river navigation landmark. They lived in an historically designated home that overlooked the river. It was built in 1855 and named for the river pilot William Rambo who navigated the Mississippi’s Upper Rapids. D.R. and Doug were also active in the community effort that successfully opened the LeClaire Community Library in 2004. In 2015 they returned to Kalamazoo to be closer to her children and grandchildren.
Preceded in death by parents Charles Wood Hoag and Margaret Kelso Hoag; sister, Isabel Hoag Pentony; brother, Charles Kelso Hoag; and spouse, Douglas W. Peterson. D.R. is survived by her children Paul (Julie), Sarah, Andrew (Denise) and Daniel Humiston; grandchildren, Valerie and Alec; sister-in-law, Mary Tuven Hoag; nieces and nephew, Isabelle Hoag, Andrea Hoag, Lisa Pentony, and Bryan Pentony.