She was born Feb. 25, 1918, on a farm in rural Reno, the daughter of Frederick and Josie (Willis) Bernhardt. She graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 1936 and attended Lawrence Business College to become a legal secretary. She had lived in Seattle for the last 24 years.
Mrs. Peterson sold hats at Kline's Department Store in Kansas City before she attended college. Afterward, she moved to Topeka and worked at the Capitol for 10 years. She began in the Department of Motor Vehicles and eventually became secretary to former Kansas Atty. Gen. Edward F. Arn. She was charter president, Kaw chapter, of National Secretaries Assn., which she helped form in 1942. The name was changed to International Association of Administrative Professionals in 1998.
She married C.M. "Pete" Peterson on March 10, 1949, in Leavenworth. They later divorced.
Survivors include a daughter, Linda K. Marra, Seattle, and a son, Douglas M. Peterson, Overland Park.