Mary Little Peterson

December 20, 1927March 6, 2018

Mary Little Peterson, 90, went to be with the Lord on March 6, 2018. Mary was born in Chilocothe, MI, on December 20, 1927, to Gertrude Watson Little and Clarence Henry Little. She had a sister five years younger, Jacquelyn, who went to heaven 51 years earlier. Her family lived in Manhattan, KS, Kansas City, KS, Washington D.C., and then moved to Spokane where she started high school. Mary graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, WA in 1945.

Following high school, she attended the University of Idaho and pledged Pi Beta Phi sorority. She transferred to the University of Washington and graduated in 1949, with a bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Drama. In her senior year, she won the Outstanding Student Award in Creative Dramatics. She supervised all of the dramatics for the parks of Tacoma and the parks of Yakima in her first position. After moving back to Seattle, she taught creative dramatics in the Seattle Public Libraries’ Preschool Program.

In 1965, she founded Little Theater Jesters, her own drama troupe. It was the only one of its kind in the United States because it was built on the team approach. All of the students from ages 5-17, set up the stage, wore the same number of costumes, had the same amount of time on stage, and took down the stage. She taught weekly drama classes and then the students performed at schools, churches and nursing homes in the local area. All of the funds from their shows were entirely given to charity. Over the years, she touched hundreds of children’s lives, building their self-esteem and giving them an opportunity to shine on and off stage. She retired Little Theater Jesters in 1987, yet staying in touch with many of her students.

She married Philip L. Peterson, Jr. at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Spokane in 1951. They were married until 1991. In 1956, her only daughter, Zan, was born. A devoted mother, she always put Zan first. While her daughter was growing up, she was generous with her time, volunteering at school, helping with Girl Scouts and like many mothers; taking her to the numerous activities and events Zan participated in. She opened her house to have Zan’s friends feel at home there, too. Serving in these areas, all while Mary continued teaching her Little Theater Jesters.

After her grandsons, Kyle, 26, and Troy, 23, were born, they were her primary focus. She was always creating and inventing new things to do together, teaching them about being men of character, encouraging any and all of their endeavors, sports, music, and other activities. There were so many creative and unique gifts for them over the years, trophies, and any fun thing that was the current rage at the time. She was always encouraging to them and spoke so highly of them to others. Her pride and devotion was obvious!

A woman of strong Christian faith, Mary was a member of the Episcopal Church and attended many in the Seattle area. She started at St. George’s, and then went to St. Dunstan’s, and finally Trinity in downtown Seattle. Then later in life she became a member of University Presbyterian. She was always involved in church her entire life serving in so many ways.

Mary was always seen sporting her brightly colored flowered hats wherever she went. In her adult family homes, where she resided for the last 4 years, she had 35 of her 250 hats displayed on the walls to look at and enjoy. She liked dancing to big band music, dressing up in costume to make others smile, watching the waves at the ocean, keeping in touch with her students as they grew up and especially spending time with her grandsons, Kyle and Troy, whom she adored and prayed for every day.

Her relatives left behind include Zan Peterson-Moens, daughter, (Alan Moens), and grandsons Kyle and Troy Moens.

She will be remembered for her warmth, offering anyone a hug, her kindness and appreciation of others, her polite manner, gratefulness to people, especially her caregivers in the last four years, and her strong faith.

The memorial service with a reception following will be held on Friday, April 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Canyon Hills Community Church, 22027 17th Ave SE, Bothell. In lieu of flowers, a contribution to the Canyon Hills Community Church Food Bank can be made in Mary’s name.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Mary Little Peterson

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Jon Eide

April 17, 2018

Mary Peterson was one of my favorite people of all-time. She was so incredibly special.

I met Mary during high school when she and her husband hosted a weekly Saturday night 'Peterson Pop-in' in their home for daughter, Zan, and many of her high school friends, of which I was fortunate to be one. The Pop-in was intended to be a gathering for high school kids to enjoy themselves apart from the traditional teenage party-scene. I always had a great time, and have many fond memories of those evenings.

For the next forty-five-plus years, Mary was my dear friend, and I feel blessed. My sincere condolences to family and friends for your loss.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. ~ Ephesians 2:8 KJV