Donna Lea Petersen (nee Bloxton), age 77, of Munising, Michigan died unexpectedly Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at her home following a brief illness. She was born in Washington D.C. on March 11, 1944 to the late Robert and Beatrice (Willis) Bloxton. Donna’s father was a career United States Marine, so her early childhood was spent at multiple bases across the U.S. in the company of her two brothers Bobby and Rick. Her parents divorced and began new families. Donna with her mother, brothers, and step father, Bob Johnston (a construction worker on Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam) settled in Page, Arizona a move that she considered most impacted her early years. It was there that she “found the Lord” embracing Christ as her savior.
Donna graduated with the first graduates from Page High School in 1961. Her love of her school did not end there. In her later years she became a historian of the school and its graduates and looked forward to assisting in planning and participating in all-class reunions.
After high school, Donna began working in Page for the National Park Service (NPS) as a park secretary at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. While working there, she met Park Ranger Grant Petersen, and they were married on October 2, 1965. In 1967, she and her husband began a year of residence in College Station, TX where Grant completed a Masters Degree at Texas A&M and Donna was employed as a secretary for the university’s Poultry Science Department. Her husband’s next Park Service position took them to Long Island, NY in 1968 stationed at the Fire Island National Seashore. Donna was focused on starting her family but upon the couple’s arrival was offered a one-year position with the Seashore’s Lands Office. Shortly afterward “the family began” with the birth of their first son, Parke, in 1969.
The Petersen’s next moved to Island Lake, IL in 1971 when Grant accepted a new position with the National Park Service headquartered in the Chicago area. It was during the residence in Illinois that their family grew with the birth of Cash, their second son. During their time in Illinois, Donna worked as a distributor of Christian faith-based books in local schools and libraries to help give children an opportunity to read these stories. She and her husband also enjoyed working with local church youth groups.
The year 1976 brought Donna to West Branch, Iowa when Grant accepted a position at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. It was in Iowa where their third son Shane was born. In 1981, the family’s final move brought them to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and they made Munising their final home.
Donna was her boys’ biggest fan and traveled “everywhere” to watch them compete in athletic and other activities. She logged many hours of “dashboard time” following her sons, as well as traveling out west to visit family and on vacations throughout the US and Canada (by land, sea & air). She enjoyed genealogy, and after discovering her family’s rich history, shared her detective skills working endless hours to help others connect their family dots. For anyone who knew Donna well or even if you just knew of her, you knew she loved the Lord. When you called their home, you were greeted with “Thank you for calling, Jesus loves you.” Matthew 5:14-16 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Donna’s picture should be next to this verse in the Bible. She was a lay minister of our community and reached out to those in need and supported women with hope and inspiration when she did ministry at the Alger County Jail. Her kindness and love will be missed by all.
Donna is survived by her husband of fifty-six years – Grant Petersen of Munising; sons – Parke (Tracy) Petersen of White Lake, MI, Cash Petersen of Munising, and Shane Petersen of Woodbury, MN; grandchildren – Avery (Mary), Tegan (Joanna), Peyton (Rylee), Raeanna, and Shayna Petersen; many loved siblings; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents – Beatrice Johnston and Robert (Ruth) Bloxton and numerous other loved family members and friends.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.