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Virginia Valley (Mendenhall) Peterson
February 20, 1924 ~ January 8, 2024 (age 99) 99 Years Old
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Virginia (Ginny) died the morning of 1/8/24 of natural causes. Ginny was born to Edith (Valley) and Luther W. Mendenhall in Wheeling, West Virginia where she began her life of adventure and learning on 2/20/1924. Ginny lived in many places in her life including Wheeling, Rochester NY, Racine WI, and Hinsdale IL before attending Iowa State University at Ames where she met Stanley Peterson. Due to WW II, she left school after 2 years to marry Stan (Ensign USN) in Mt Vernon NY at the home of an aunt on 4/1/1944 where additionally only her older brother could attend. They started their family in the Ledyard CT area. In 1953 they moved with 3 small children to run a very rustic hunting and fishing camp that abutted Canada’s Algonquin National Park. In 1954 they settled in Hadlyme CT where they lived for the rest of their lives, with the exception of 4 years in the early 70’s where they lived in Alexandria VA. Upon Stanley’s retirement they proceeded to travel the US and the world, frequently staying in rustic camp sites including 6 months in New Zealand. Wherever she went, Ginny loved meeting the people, learning the history and exploring both the cultural and natural surroundings. She and Stan collected friends all over the US from all walks of life. Ginny’s passions lived at the intersection of family, friends, knowledge, health, and food. She loved helping her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren learn and grow. She loved gardening and learning the flora of an area, including the weeds. She was an early convert to organic gardening, which she practiced studiously once they settled in Hadlyme including growing worms for better compost and frequently giving friends vegetables and flowers from her garden. She has passed her love of pets, chickens, and goats onto her children. She was a passionate proponent of eating a healthy diet and active living, including swimming, yoga, and walking. She was walking 3 miles a day well into her 90’s. She was a great cook, transforming the ingredients she grew into delicious meals, which she loved sharing with family and friends. A strong advocate for lifelong learning, Ginny completed her BA in Education at Willimantic State Teacher's College (now Eastern Connecticut University) in 1967. She served as a Girl Scout Leader, and after earning her degree, volunteered as the Nathan Hale Ray High School co-librarian until they went to Virginia. She was a staunch member of the Hadlyme Congregational Church for decades, serving in a variety of roles. She delivered Meals on Wheels for several years. She was avid in seeking to understand and help the world around her including the people and places she visited. She was preceded in death by Stanley Peterson, her husband of 75 years, her older brother Luther, and younger brother Henry. Virginia is survived by her children Bruce (MaryKay Fox) of Falmouth MA, Barbara Sweeney (Robert) of Worthington MA, and David (Pamela Molle) of Voorheesville, NY, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.
A private service will be held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ginny’s memory may be made to the Heifer Project @ www.heifer.org. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.