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Obituary for Beverly Jean Peterson

Beverly Peterson, of Belding

She was born at home in Muir on June 23, 1932, Beverly Jean Helmer. She died peacefully of natural causes on June 2, 2023, age 90 years 11 months and 7 days.

She was one of 9 siblings that lived to adulthood: 7 brothers and 1 sister, Lorraine Cox, who she was very close to. A couple siblings were lost in their infancy. She was near the middle of the pack of kids and helped raise several of the younger ones. Only one sibling remains alive: Maynard Helmer (wife Barb) of Ionia. Other brothers were: Fred (aka George), Bud, Wayne, Thayne, Don, and Larry.

The family lived on a few of different farms in the Saranac area, and Bev attended Dexter School, graduating from Saranac High in 1950. She was active in home economics, helping prepare meals for the students, and was on Saranac’s first girls’ basketball team, which she always very proud of.

She married Earl Peterson in 1950 after his military service, and moved to Ionia. Earl built them a house on Hillcrest Drive and they had three boys; Earl Jr., Gary, and Tim.

The family traveled around Michigan quite a bit, camping, fishing, and sightseeing.

Around 1963 the family moved to the farm on Graff Rd., near to her parents and other family members, which they worked for about 40 years.

Earl worked in factories and retired from General Tire. After the 3 boys were in school Beverly took a job as lab tech at American Anodco in Ionia, and worked her way up to plant manager at American Bumper Company.

After retirement the couple moved into a house that Gary and his wife Donna had built on the farm. Beverly and Earl traveled extensively around the country in retirement, visiting Alaska, many of the western states, Florida, and Hawaii. Her other hobbies were bowling, golf, and reading.

After her husband’s death in 2009 Beverly immersed herself in growing flowers of all types, creating and tending numerous massive beds full of blooms. She loved feeding and watching the hummingbirds, and took frequent bike rides around the block to visit neighbors and friends. She met regularly with old classmates and groups of friends that she had known from working and traveling.

She is survived by one brother, Maynard Helmer (Barb); three sons, Earl Jr, Gary (Donna), and Tim (Kamela); four grandchildren, Glen (Hayley), Amy Rexford (Sean), Lydia, and Avery (Hannah); one great-grandson Remy; many beloved nephews and nieces; and countless lifelong friends.

Funeral Services will be conducted by Pastor James Floyd at 12:00 noon on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at Shiloh Community Church, 8197 Heth St., Orleans. A luncheon will follow. Interment will be in Easton Township Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service at the church on Thursday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Alzheimer’s Association. Arrangements are entrusted to Lehman Funeral Homes, Ionia. Online condolences may be made at


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