In Loving Memory
January 6, 1949 – August 13, 2013
After a courageous and graceful battle with cancer, Carol Peterson passed away on August 13, 2013 at her home.
Born January 6, 1949 to Lucy Morris Reyburn and Joe Reyburn, Carol began her life in Walla Walla. For the first 10 years she lived on the same two acres where she has lived for the last 27 years. Carol attended Prospect Point Elementary, Garrison Junior High, and graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1967.
She served as Wa-Hi student band director. Carol attended Washington State University,
where she participated in marching and concert bands, Alpha Xi Delta sorority, and
graduated in 1971 with a BA in music education. From 1971-72, she traveled throughout
the United States visiting college campuses as a field counselor for her sorority. Through
this experience, she made an amazing number of life-long friends.
On June 2, 1972 she married her husband of 41 years, Jim Peterson, in Pullman, WA. The newlyweds returned to Walla Walla in fall of 1972.
Carol started her teaching career with long-term substitute positions at Garrison Junior High (orchestra) and Walla Walla High School (band). She began teaching band at Walla Walla Catholic schools in the late 1970s. During her tenure as band director there, she annually entertained the community with SEW Fair Parade renditions of popular themes. These included Batman, Splish Splash, Sweet Georgia Brown, Olympic Theme, Little Old Lady from Pasadena, and Jailhouse Rock. People often commented that the DeSales marching band was the highlight of the parade. During Carol's teaching tenure, the DeSales award winning jazz band was well known for its performances. The jazz band was highly recognized and received many commendations at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow Idaho. She enjoyed the challenges of traveling with band students and took DeSales band music to other schools and communities throughout the Northwest. Even after retirement she continued to volunteer and teach individual music lessons. Carol's life-long passion for music extended beyond the classroom walls. She played in the Walla Walla Symphony, was a member of many pit orchestras for summer musicals, and was musical conductor for Oklahoma in 1990. She was a long time active member in Walla Walla Valley Bands. She directed the pit orchestra for Guys and Dolls at The Little Theater. She initiated and greatly enjoyed a Christmas caroling ensemble, “Hooters & Tooters”, that has been lifting spirits in Walla Walla over the last 25 years. She continued to play music weekly with friends in a small group until the spring of 2013.
In addition to teaching, Carol was an integral member of the Walla Walla softball community. She coached little league and senior league softball. She started the softball program at DeSales in 1988 to expand opportunities for girls. She led the team to several state tournament appearances. She was instrumental in the inception of the softball program at WWCC and was a volunteer coach in the early years. She spent the last 10 years as a volunteer coach with the Wa-Hi Blue Devils, helping them win the 2011 state title.
Her community involvement included being active in her church; teaching Sunday school, helping with pageants and vacation bible school, and directing the choir at Christ Lutheran Church. Her desire to help and give back to the community led her to serve on the board of directors for Camp Lutherhaven, YWCA, Walla Walla Youth Baseball and Softball, and Camp Fire. Carol's life-long passion for reading culminated in her service to the Walla Walla County Rural Library District as an active member of the board of directors. Her mother introduced Carol to the library at a very young age. Carol always saw the library as a place of equal opportunity regardless of family resources. In all of her board positions, Carol was known as a positive, action-oriented, no non-sense, and vital contributor. It has been said that “Carol gives everything when she believes in something.
From Carol you get her heart, her soul, her hands, her mind, and, of course her wonderful laugh and sense of humor. She does nothing half way, and Carol approaches even the most mundane projects with passion.” She never sought public attention. She managed to soar and yet stay under the radar.
She retired from teaching in 1993 to help Jim care for his aging parents. Carol began her fight with cancer in the fall of 1995 when she was treated for breast cancer. She was active in cancer outreach and education activities, completing the 1998 Bike Against the Odds ride in Alaska, and participating in numerous races for the cure. She also completed bike rides for cancer awareness at Mt. Hood, the Oregon Coast, and in Arizona. She served as an American Cancer Association Reach for Recovery volunteer; uplifting, supporting, and encouraging over 100 cancer patients. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2004 and was undaunted when facing the multitude of treatments. She was a proactive patient who never took no for an answer. She pushed the boundaries of what was possible with cancer care and treatment. Carol's positive attitude inspired other patients who were also receiving treatment at the Cancer Center. She threw many graduation pizza parties for patients leaving treatment...Carol received the Soroptimist Club “Woman of Distinction” award in 2009 for her role in improving the lives of girls and women in our community and around the world.
Carol loved chickens, music, gardening, gizzards, young people, licorice, shorts, bat speed, her family, her friends, and life.
Carol’s final message was, “It’s time to let your light shine, it’s time to stand up and say hey, this is the right thing to do and we need to do it.”
She is the proud mother of Enga Peterson (Spokane) and Erin Peterson (Seattle), and grandmother to Elena Thompson. Carol was preceded in death by her sister Jeannie Clough, and her parents. In addition to her immediate family, she is survived by two sisters Joann Britain of Walla Walla, and Bobbie Jo Grefsheim of Lodi, CA, and three brothers Sonny Reyburn and Herbert Reyburn of Walla Walla and Ron Reyburn of Seven Bays, WA. A celebration of life will be held later this fall. In lieu of flowers, Carol asks that you make a contribution to Walla Walla Valley Bands, Walla Walla Camp Fire, or Walla Walla County Rural Library.