Laura Virginia Hilton-Peterson, 72, went to the arms of our Lord on July 19, 2019, after a five-year journey with lung cancer.
She was born Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland, to parents Esther Friel (Snavely) Hilton and John “Jack” David Hilton. She graduated from Eastern High School in 1964 and from St. Joseph School of Nursing in 1967. After completing nursing school, Laura moved to California. She first worked at a VA Hospital in Long Beach and later as an industrial nurse for Van Camp Seafoods where she met the love of her life, Ernest Peterson.
Laura and Ernest married in 1977 and provided their children with a happy home in Olivenhain, California. They also hosted an exchange student from Germany, Susanne Schmitz, who became like a daughter to them. Although Laura continued to work on a part-time basis, she was primarily focused on taking care of her children. Ernest retired in 1988 and seven years later the couple moved to Bigfork where they continued to spend each summer while returning to La Quinta, California, each winter.
Laura was a loving wife, mother, sister, cousin and friend, as well as an accomplished artist, author, businesswoman, party thrower and quilter. Many of her quilts received national and even international acclaim. She was passionate about genealogy and co-authored a book about her family history titled “Windows to the Past,” which is housed in the Library of Congress.
She is survived by her husband, Ernest Peterson, of Bigfork; sister, Brenda Leber and husband Ken, of Havre de Grace, Maryland; daughters, Jacque DeRaadt of Lemoore, California, Denise Falkner and husband Tim of Columbia Falls, and Shelley Emslie and husband Todd of Bigfork. She also leaves behind nine grandchildren, Joshua McCarter, Katrina Waardenburg, Eileen Martinho, Arie DeRaadt, Anthony Peterson, Hayden and Lauren Falkner, and Augie and Hattie Emslie, along with one great-grandchild, Cora Waardenburg.
Laura was the most generous woman and had such a loving heart. She will be missed greatly by family and friends.
Those who knew her well will understand that in accordance with her wishes, no services are planned because nobody could throw a party up to her standards!
Memorials may be made in her honor to the American Cancer Society.