Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Priscilla Peterson 1942 - 2010

I've been kinda MIA around here as of late, and there are a couple of reasons for my absence. At the start of the month, it was just hot out and I was unmotivated-- but I figured that I would be writing during my mid month vacation. Well, my mother was moved from her nursing home to the ER and then on to a floor at a local hospital early in the month. Her medical condition has been on the decline for years, with 2001 seeing her stop working and having to go onto disability. In the late summer of 2008 she was living on her own and not doing well, a trip to the ER (just like the one at the start of this month) landed her in the nursing home where she has lived until now. She returned from her last hospital stay on the 14th of July, stabilized and read for us to talk about the next step in her care. We never got the chance, as she passed away on the 17th of June at about 9:30PM. My brother, sister and I were there, along with a trio of close friends who were fellow ex-RNs and her medical advocates. It's never easy to have a parent die, but for us this wasn't the first time, my father died in 1983. We were as prepared as anyone could be for my mothers passing and as all three of us were there I feel that we have the closest thing to closure that we are likely to get.

I am going to included her Obit at the bottom of this post, it was something that I was part of writing, which was a very strange feeling. I just want to add a few things to the words below. First my mother is probably the main reason that I read and write crime fiction. She was a fan of the cozies and rarely met a mystery where the cat and a cup of tea saved the day that she didn't love. She was also something of a writer, mostly poetry, with the occasional short prose work making it's way into the mix. Several summers she took us to the Cape Cod Writers conference where she got to meet other writers and hear talks by people like Mary Higgins Clark. She also took us to places like Kate's Mystery Bookshop in Boston and let us prowl though who knows how many bookstores from the hole in the walls to the biggest book emporiums in the land. We rarely saw eye to eye on authors and books, as I like the hard boiled, noir and procedural end of the crime genre, which was the antithesis of her taste. I still recall wanted a copy of James Elllroy's The Big Nowhere when I was in high school and she thought that she had heard his stories were dark and filled with sexual ambiguity and there was no way that she was going to buy that for me. It would be almost a decade before I would get my hands on any of his work, but it was for the best, I don't know that I was ready for his work when I was younger.

When it came to movies we were much more often in sync taste wise. She struggled with letting us see films that were rated R when we were young teens and our peers were seeing Purple Rain (Yawn) and Blame it on Rio (which I never really had any interest in seeing), but she often let us see Foreign films that were just above our maturity level. Looking back I see that she often kept us from films that were not that big of a deal, while unknowingly handing us stuff that she would have hated for us to see (Hotdog the Movie I am looking at you). Music was another area that we had some cross over. She never really liked the Punk, Metal and Rock and Roll that I was into, but the Country & Western, Folk, and Roots Rock that I have become increasingly fond of was a favorite of hers. Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison were artists that I first heard because of her playing them in the car while driving.

Anyway, for all the good and all the bad, she was my mother and I know that as time goes by and my life and that of my siblings ebb forward there are going to be moments when she will be missed, when we will wish that she was there. We had the time that was allotted and I think we did the best we could at the time--

Until We Meet Again.


Priscilla Bancroft Peterson passed away June 17, 2010 in Saline, MI at age 68. Priscilla was born in Kingsport, TN to Reverend Frank and Hannah Beck, the eldest of four. The majority of her childhood was spent in Millerton, NY with the family moving to Boston, MA where she graduated high school from Lexington Christian Academy. She completed nurses training in 1962 at Mt. Auburn, Boston and continued her education at Southeast Bible College in Birmingham, Alabama earning a BA in education in 1966. She was a nurse, educator, and poet.

She met the late Roy Peterson of Carney, MI, in Boston while working as a nurse; they married in Millerton, NY in 1969. Priscilla and Roy lived in Boston, MA and Colorado Springs, CO before settling in Ann Arbor, MI in 1975 where they raised three children; Eric (b. 1972), Stefan (b. 1975), and Ingrid (b. 1977.) Roy passed away in 1983.

Priscilla worked as a nurse at several area hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and summer camps; including Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti, MI. She also worked in education as a teachers aid for developmentally delayed preschoolers and teaching creative writing in the Ann Arbor Public Schools as well as serving on the board for Michigan Adults and Children with Learning Disabilities.

As a long time member of University Reformed Church, she served as elder and editor for the church newsletter. During the late 1980s she published “Hearth and Cistern,” a newsletter for Christian single parents. As a member of Huron Hills Baptist Church’s Singleship fellowship, she built many life long friendships.

In later years she became involved with Elderwise and In Good Company book club.

She is proceeded in death by: her father, Rev. Frank Beck; mother, Hannah Beck; husband, Roy Peterson; and father-in-law, Vincent Peterson. Priscilla is survived by; her children, Eric, Stefan, and Ingrid, and her siblings John Beck (Michiko), Ruth Beck and James Beck.

She will be missed by family and friends.

Services will be held on Sat. June 26, 2010 at Nie Funeral Home, 3767 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103- http://www.niefuneralhomes.com/.

11-1pm visitation

1pm- funeral service

Donations can be made in Priscilla’s name to Meals on Wheels, Ypsilanti, 1110 W. Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI, 48197.


pattinase (abbott) said...

So very sorry to hear this, Eric. You lost both parents at much too young an age. I am glad you have family around you now.

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Timothy said...


Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing you all again sometime in less than a year or so. Maybe Christmas?