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Obituary: Ruth Louise Marz Steinfeldt Peterson

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9/30/1926 ~ 10/7/2004

Surrounded by family, Ruth Louise Marz Steinfeldt Peterson passed the final threshold of this life, leaving behind her struggle with cancer and heart disease as well as the gift of a deep, joyous love for her life, her family and friends, which she passed on to us all to carry forward and share. We will do our best.

Ruth was born to Ernest John and Anna F. M. Steinfeldt September 30, 1926, in Salt Lake City. She married Normand Larry Peterson September 17, 1948 and together they raised the family which was the center and greatest purpose of her life.

She is survived and honored by her husband; daughters, Rebecca Ann (Jerry) Richard, and Ramona Shabazz; son, Michael Scott; and four grandchildren, whom she adored and who cherished her generous affection and enthusiastic playful personality. She was preceded in death by her parents; and her beloved first son, Mark Normand Peterson.

Ruth's pleasure in life was enhanced by a self-taught appreciation of art. She loved to travel, and trips to Israel, Scandinavia, Europe and the southern United States were highlights of her life. Most special were her visits to the German homeland of her ancestors, whom she traced so enthusiastically in her genealogy work, and the trip with her husband to the southern states, which were home to his ancestors, and where she served an LDS mission in 1946-48.

Early in their marriage she embark-ed with Larry in an exploration and always growing understanding and appreciation of music, through their 56 years of Utah Symphony Season Concert Series attendance. She loved the ballet too, and the bright spots occasioned by her Tuesday visits to her book group; she was always renewing her stack of books at home, from which she read daily.

Along with her beloved valley home and its encircling mountains, Ruth shared with Larry a profound spiritual connection to the Teton Mountains in Wyoming, where the family vacationed nearly every year. She and Larry continued to visit there, especially Jenny Lake, whenever they could. Making the 50-mile backpacking trip along the peaks to Lake Solitude was a proud accomplishment and an experience of grandeur and beauty she treasured in memory. She carried the love of "her mountains" - the Tetons, and the Wasatch - with her always. They, and her family, were home.

In her last years, visits from her grandchildren and their spouses and cherished nephews and nieces and their families brought her much delight. She found a serene pleasure, sitting quietly alone in a certain chair by her front window, watching the neighborhood birds and the arrival of a new day. A favorite time in the evenings was when her husband read to her from a book of poetry, sharing an intimacy of words, and spirit.

Even in her last months, amidst the daily struggle of life with debilitating illness and disease, she continued to discover new joy and even sweeter appreciation for her husband through his constant, tender and devoted care. Ruth and Larry's love has ever grown, and will ever be.

A private celebration of love and farewell will be held in Ruth's home with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

A brief, informal, public graveside ceremony will be held Monday afternoon, October 11, 2004, 2 p.m. at the gravesite in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Ruth wished that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Nature Conservancy of Utah, as a way of sharing her love for the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

As the migrating Canada geese pass overhead now during her favorite season of the year, we release our wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and dear friend on her final "Ausflug."