Carolyn, daughter of John Robert Henderson Sr. and Margaret F. Henderson, was born Nov. 5, 1928, in Jackson.
In the early 1800s the Henderson family moved from Mecklenburg County, N.C., to the northern part of Cape Girardeau County. They established Apple Creek Presbyterian Church, one of the first Presbyterian churches west of the Mississippi River.
Carolyn grew up in Jackson where she attended public schools. She graduated from Ward-Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn., and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree in English.
She taught English at Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, Ill., before marrying Lt. J.G. (USNR) C. Charles "Chuck" Peterson. They were stationed at Corpus Christi, Texas, Key West, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J., before returning to Jackson in 1954.
Carolyn was named Outstanding Young Woman of Missouri by the Jaycees Junior Chamber of Commerce. She and her family were active members at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson. Carolyn was an advocate for childhood education and ran a preschool offering stories, dancing, singing and acrobatics for neighborhood children and later Carolyn's School of Dance with tap and ballet lessons for Jackson youth.
Before moving to Milford in 1977, the Petersons enjoyed living in Jackson, Jefferson City, Mo., St. Louis and Vienna, Va.
Carolyn pursued her interest in dance throughout her life. She was a 60-year member of PEO Sisterhood and was dedicated to the education of young women. Carolyn's membership at First United Church of Christ Congregational in Milford was meaningful to her and she served on the Board of Deacons and the Emma Davis Medical Equipment Ministry.
Carolyn was committed to sharing the history of her family roots in Missouri with the next generations. She was an avid reader and loved the outdoors and gardening in all seasons. She enjoyed meeting people on many travels with Chuck and welcoming visitors from around the world to the Peterson home.
Carolyn will be remembered especially for her quiet sense of humor and a steadfast belief in the beauty of ordinary days.
She was preceded by her husband Chuck of 56 years in December 2007.
Survivors include a brother, John Robert Henderson Jr. of Fair Oaks, Calif.; her children and their families, Robert Sinclair Peterson, wife Lydia and son Rob of Elgin, Ill.; daughters, Carol Jeannan Peterson of Bethesda, Md., Margaret Grace Peterson of Storrs, Conn.; son, Charles Clement Peterson and wife Katherine of New Haven, Conn., and daughter Cara of Chapel Hill, N.C.; and James Taylor Peterson and wife Christa of Hinesburg, Vt.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p,m. July 3 at Congregational Church in Milford.
Memorial gifts may be made to First United Church of Christ Congregational, Emma Davis Medical Equipment Ministry, 34 W. Main St., Milford, CT 06460, or Apple Creek Presbyterian Church Memorial Association, c/o Jim Hope, treasurer, 1115 Nell Green, Jackson, MO 63755.
The Peterson family wishes to express its sincere appreciation to family and friends for the care and support extended to Carolyn over the past months.
New Haven Funeral Service was in charge of arrangements.