TRAVERSE CITY — The name Helen means shining light, and Helen Peterson’s warm and loving nature shone brightly throughout her life. Helen’s light dimmed on Nov. 27, 2013, when she died at the age of 70 while recovering from a stroke in Traverse City. Now her light warms our hearts with memories of her caring.
Helen was born in Chicago to Joseph and Dorothy (Kuchar) Ptacek. She was an independent child and loved to find adventure. When she met her husband, Kenneth Peterson, in Morocco while on a tour in the Sahara Desert, he became the love of her life. They were married in 1974 in Las Vegas, and lived in the Detroit area where Ken worked for Ford in the Design Center. Their son, Erik Maxfield Peterson, was born in 1980. Helen graduated from Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn with an associate degree in culinary arts. In 2000, they moved to Empire into a house designed by Ken. Helen had a laughing and loving nature. She enjoyed being active, and made many friends in the Traverse City area.
Her activities included volunteering at the Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City and the Empire Historical Museum in Empire. She worked at The Black Swan in Glen Arbor, The Glen Arbor Athletic Club and The Yarn Shop. Helen was an expert knitter and a creative quilter and enjoyed traveling.
Helen is survived by her husband, Ken, in Empire; son Erik and his partner Andrea Maio, in Detroit; sister, Carole King (David), in Richland, Wash.; brother, Joseph Ptacek (Darlene) in Wildwood, Ill.; niece, Lisa Ptacek in Wildwood; nephews, Jeff King (Kazuko) in Geneva, Switzerland, Justin King in Kennewick, Wash., and Andrew King in Richland, Wash.; a grandniece, Karen, and grandnephew, Jun, in Geneva; as well as Helen’s aunt, Jackie Kintzel in Illinois; and many cousins in several states.
Helen was predeceased by her parents, grandparents, several aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as her nephew, Joseph K. Ptacek.
A memorial service for family and friends will be take place the Spring of 2014 at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Empire.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Helen’s name to the American Heart Association.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Traverse City.