|Birth: ||May 22, 1932|
San Francisco County
|Death: ||May 1, 2009|
Santa Clara County
Added by hpbs1 on 2 Jun 2009
Helen Peterson was born in San Francisco, California on May 22, 1932. She was soon adopted by Frederick and Gladys Graves Peterson of Burlingame, California and was named Helen Carol by her adoring new parents- Helen, the name chosen by her father and Carol which was her mother's choice of names. She was a beautiful baby with golden ringlets and large brown eyes.
Her father, Frederick, was born of Danish parents in Berlin, Germany in 1879 and immigrated to the United States in 1893. He enlisted in the army at age 18 and by the end of the Great War, he had served for over 21 years in the Quartermaster's Corp., many of those years on an army transport going from California to the Philippines. In July 1918, Captain Peterson was in charge of the PX at Camp Merrit, New Jersey when he married Miss Gladys Graves of Albany, New York, a pretty young socialite 18 years his junior. The popular couple soon moved from New Jersey to Burlingame, California where Frederick brought his considerable organizational talents and business acumen to the floral industry, opening a florist shop and nursery with his partner, Haywood, and importing orchids from the Philippine Islands. In 1919, Frederick entered politics and he was first elected to the Burlingame City Council. From 1931-1935 was a Republican state assemblyman representing the 29th California legislative district. His fiscal conservatism so impressed Governor Merriam that he was later appointed to the program to assure the success of the 1939-'40 Golden Gate International Exposition World's Fair on Treasure Island.
So, at the height of the Great Depression, Helen began her life in relative luxury, visiting the CA legislative sessions with her mother, attending the opening of the Oakland Bay Bridge and the World's Fair, with her politician father, going to Europe on first class passage with her parents, taking family trips to Chicago, Kansas City and Florida, witnessing her father's many political battles and campaigns in San Mateo, County where he became the first elected County Executive after his tenure in the legislature ended. Frederick, who was called "Pete" by his wife, Gladys, remained in the Army Reserve Corp after World War 1 and rose to the rank of Lt Colonel. He was known as "Colonel Pete" and Helen was sometimes called "Little Pete" by family and friends.
Helen attended the Carey School, an independent, co-educational day school in San Mateo where she made straight A's. From there she went to Burlingame High School where she was graduated in 1949. Her father retired two years later in 1951 at the age of 72. Helen moved back in with her mother in Palo Alto after the death of her father in 1970. She had to sell the family home after the death of her mother in 1976. .
Helen did not pursue a college degree, although at one point she wrote to Stanford about the possibility of resuming her college studies. She never married. She worked for many years as a secretary for Pan Am, Metcaff & Eddy and Lockheed. She vacationed in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and loved visiting with friends and partying at home and at the beach.
Helen loved mysteries, crosswords and cats -- Damon, Diogenes, Smoky, Callie, and Biskit were only a few out of a lifetime of feline friends. She had a sharp intelligence. She outlived her family and most of her older friends but she lived independently to the end of her life. Longtime best friend Carol Conner and Carol's son, K.C., of Placerville, her "adopted" granddaughter, Jennifer Burkett, friends Tony, June and many others who were all touched by Helen's bravery. humor,wit --and above all her unfailing sense of fairness and loyality-- were with her at the end of her life. She is greatly missed by them and by her friends in the Oats program in Mountain View, CA.
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Created by: helenpatricia
Record added: Jun 05, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37955141