Ocean Beach 07

Mary Jo Peterson

September 3, 1933 ~ January 24, 2021 (age 87)


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Mary Jo Peterson. Her final journey around the sun ended January 24, 2021. Mary Jo died at home quietly beside her daughter, Courtney. 

“MJ” as she was known by all, was born in Portland, Oregon. As a daughter of Croatian heritage, her cultural roots ran deep and she enriched her family with traditions that will be carried on by many generations to come.

She attended Rigler Elementary and Commerce High School in Portland. Later, while attending Lewis & Clark College, she met the handsome upperclassman, Richard S. Peterson, whom she married in 1957. Mary Jo also spent her later years in the company of fellow “Rigler Rat” classmate Jack Burri. 

Mary Jo enjoyed a fulfilling 20+ year career at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland, Oregon, where she held a senior management position in the Executive Director’s office.

While sometimes viewed as soft spoken or understated, Mary Jo had a very curious and inquisitive nature. She was able to initiate engaging conversations with most anyone, and on a wide range of subjects. Though she was particularly articulate on subjects surrounding travel, art and music.  Her gentle humor and mischievous twinkle also attracted life-long bonds of friendship to many.

Mary Jo was a contributor, board member and/or supporter of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the Portland Symphony, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Oregon Garden, Oregon Zoo, Portland Art Museum, Portland Swiss Club. She was also a very devoted fan of the Portland Opera, where she held season tickets for many years. 

Over the last few years, Mary Jo relocated to the “Park Place” community, where her warmth, style, and grace won a circle of friends whose regard and support will not be forgotten.

Mary Jo is survived by her daughter, Courtney, granddaughter Jessica Lauren, beloved niece Debbie (Bill) Garlington and their wonderful sons, David and Jeff, inimitable nephew, Don Bozich, Jr., and family; treasured cousins too numerous to name, and true life-long friends to the end. 

Special thanks to the staff of Maryville Memory Care in Beaverton, Oregon. We are forever grateful for the amazing nurses and therapists who - in this challenging time - met each obstacle with grace and patience.


The virtual memorial service will be held March 25, 6:45-8pm.  

Please email Courtney Peterson, courtneypeterson143@gmail, for more information.

A small private in-person service will be held later this year at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

Donations may be made towards…. TBD

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Jo Peterson, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
March 25, 2021

6:45 PM

Please note
Meeting ID: 963 6991 6372 Passcode: 923055
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