Ila J. Peterson, age 90, of Kandiyohi, died Friday, February 7, at Carris Health Rice Care Center in Willmar. Her funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 21, at Tripolis Lutheran Church in rural Kandiyohi with interment in the church cemetery. Visitation will be 5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 20, at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar (hafh.org) and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Memorials are preferred to Green Lake Lutheran Ministries, Carris Health RIce Care Center or Tripolis Lutheran Church.
Ila was born February 13, 1929, in Litchfield, Minnesota, the daughter of Raymond and Edna (Peterson) Johnson. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Atwater and confirmed at Tripolis Lutheran Church in Kandiyohi. She grew up in the rural Atwater community and attended rural Atwater and Goldenrod schools. She graduated from Atwater High School in 1947 and St. Cloud State Teachers College in 1949. On June 18, 1949, she married Myron H. Peterson at Tripolis Lutheran Church. They lived on a farm in rural Kandiyohi, where they raised their three daughters: Janice, Marlys, and Carolyn. Ila taught from 1961 to 1988, teaching mainly kindergarten and first grade in Kandiyohi and Lake Lillian-Bird Island school districts. She also obtained her bachelor’s degree in education from St. Cloud State College in 1968.
Ila was a member of Tripolis Lutheran Church, where she taught Sunday school and Bible school, sang in the choir, and was active with quilting and the women’s circle. She was also involved with 4-H and Home Extension. Ila enjoyed gardening and baking, and loved her cats. She also loved spending time on the farm with her grandchildren.
She is survived by her three daughters: Janice Smith of Lester Prairie, Marlys (and Tom) Gustafson of Willmar, and Carolyn (and Doug) Elliot of Waconia; eight grandchildren: Dana Smith, Cheryl Smith, Amy Smith (and fiancé James Zal), Jacob Smith, Wade (and Beth) Gustafson, Riley (and Sarah) Gustafson, Jay (and Angela) Elliot, and Jeff Elliot (and special friend Amanda Fromelt); and thirteen great-grandchildren: Sarah, Cameron, Hannah, Dean, Abigail, Maycee, Lyza, Beckett, Sydney, Alivia, Audrey, Reid, and Ellie. Ila is also survived by a nephew; nieces; and other relatives.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband: Myron in 2005; two brothers: Clifford and Ralph; and son-in-law: Tim Smith in January 2020.