Winerva “Winnie” Beth (Maas) Petersen, age 70, passed away peacefully in her home on November 4, 2020, surrounded by the songs and tears and encouragement of her three children and her loving husband of 47 years.
Winnie was born to Charley and Helen (Kok) Maas on May 20, 1950, in Platte, South Dakota, near her family's farm in New Holland. She was the only daughter and the youngest of four children.
Winnie graduated from Dordt College in 1973 and married Jim Petersen that same year. She began her career by teaching elementary school for a few years, before having children. She served alongside Jim, a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church, as a partner in ministry. They built the kingdom through the bodies of Christ in Bunde, Pipestone, and New Brighton, Minnesota; Grandville, Michigan; Bellingham, Washington; West De Moines, Iowa; and Morrison, Illinois. Her work at Medtox Laboratories in St. Paul and at Iowa Bankers Association in Des Moines brought so much joy, purpose, and friendship to her life. Jim and Winnie semi-retired in New Hope, Minnesota, in 2016 - close to family and great friends. In the last four years, Mom and Dad ministered in three special churches in Nova Scotia, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Aside from her discipleship to Jesus, Winnie’s strongest call and vocation was to be a wife, mother and grandmother. She doted on her family and was happiest when her children and grandchildren were near. She was a Maker of pies, a Crocheter of afghans, a Keeper of pictures and records, a Counter of stitches and time and days and money, a Holder of babies, a Cruiser on the oceans with her hubby, a Pray-er for people, and a Friend of Jesus.
In a book of memories she wrote for the generations to follow, she was asked to name her favorite political or religious cause. She wrote, “That people would love Jesus because of how I treat them!” In the space allotted for the advice she wanted to pass on, she wrote, “See the sunrise and get to know the one who made it! Don’t always say, ‘I’ll pray for you’ unless you really get to know the one you’re praying to.” And finally, her favorite quote - which we attribute to her: “When you’re going through or are on rough water, don’t look at the waves. Keep your eyes on Jesus’ face!”
Winnie was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in November of 2019. She navigated her disease with purpose and conviction, wanting nothing more than for God to be glorified through her body. By the time November of 2020 rolled around, she was more than ready to be called home to Jesus.
Winnie was preceded in death by her parents, Charley and Helen Maas, her beloved brother, Wally Maas, and her son-in-law, Layton DeVries. She is survived by her husband, Jim, and her children and grandchildren: Heidi (Tim) De Jonge, Samara, Naomi and Zoe, of Kingston, Ontario; Tracy (Robb) Keizer, Aletha and Judah of St. Paul, Minnesota; Derek (Rachel) Petersen, Lucy and Simon of St. Paul, Minnesota.
She has also entered peace and glory ahead of her siblings: brother Bernie (Elly) Maas of Rock Valley, Iowa; brother Arlin (Jo) Maas of Ada, Michigan, and sister-in-love Nancy (Dave) Visser of Mount Vernon, Washington. Jim’s siblings and her many nieces and nephews will miss her, too.
Winnie also leaves behind her dog, Abby, whose grief is real.
Because of COVID-19 and weather forecasts, there will be two main opportunities for marking Winnie’s life and death.
On Sunday, November 8, at 11:00am, a pie social will be held outdoors on the grounds of Faith Christian Reformed Church in New Brighton. This will be a time for family and friends to remember Winnie by eating pie and sharing stories.
A service of lament and joy will be held at 1:30pm on Monday, November 9, at Faith CRC, officiated by Pastor Erin Stout. Guests may arrive within the hour before the service to view Winnie’s body, through which we knew her and she knew us. The service will also be shared via livestream and accessible for viewing after the fact.
If you are not feeling well or if you have any COVID-like symptoms, we ask that you do not attend either of these options in-person, but instead, attend the funeral service virtually.
Please visit Winnie’s Caring Bridge site (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/winniepetersen), where we will be posting RSVP links to both the pie social and the funeral and where we will post the site for access to the livestream option. For those attending in person, please wear your mask and be prepared to abide by distancing protocols.
For those who are interested, memorial gifts may be made in honor of Winnie to the CRC’s efforts to build ministries to bless children in worship.
CRC Worship Ministries Children and Worship Memorial 1700 28th Street SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508 Website: https://www2.crcna.org/worship/donate
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Winerva "Winnie" Petersen, please visit our floral store.