Dorothy Hortense White Peterson

Honored by:Dr. Lloyd and Mrs. Ja Nelle Anderson
Brick location:C:29  map

Dorothy White was born at Keota, Iowa on February 20, 1906, the second of three girls. Her mother died in 1912, leaving a young family; however, her father remarried within a brief time. She was an eager and able student in her early years of school, as well as having a strong interest in music. Her interest in music provided numerous opportunities through high school and college years. She was often a piano accompanist for visiting singers, and played the piano for school and community events.

Her first two years of college were at Des Moines University, and she lived with a great-aunt and uncle who gave violin lessons in their home. Dorothy then transferred to Iowa State College, where she planned to finish her remaining two years. Early in the spring quarter of her first year at Iowa State, she had the opportunity to tour with the Ellison-White Chautauqua on a 5-month tour of the western part of the United States. The Chautauqua experience led to other opportunities with the Lyceum and the Allpress All Star Trio during 1927-29, and Dorothy travelled extensively throughout the southeastern United States with the group while also trying to finish her schooling at Iowa State. She was able to take extra courses during interrupted quarters and still achieved high honors in her classes.

In May, 1929, she married Reynold A. Peterson, a native of Harcourt, Iowa. He was a graduate of Des Moines University and later earned a master's degree from the University of Iowa in 1932. Dorothy completed her bachelor's degree in Home Economics at Iowa State in 1930. Rey and Dorothy made their first home together in Farrar, where he was superintendent of the consolidated school. He taught classes in physics and wood working in addition to coaching basketball. Dorothy taught Home Economics classes, which included child development, nutrition and art; however, she was called upon to teach a variety of subjects as the need arose. In 1935, Dorothy and Rey moved to Des Moines when he became a sales representative for Row Peterson and Co. (later Harper & Row), a publisher of school textbooks.

Their children, James, Janice and Jane, were born in 1935, 1938 and 1944. Jane died shortly after birth. Dorothy was very involved in raising her children and very active in the schools and community. She taught nutrition and sewing classes during the World War 11 years and was President of the Iowa Home Economics Association for two years.

Dorothy's children James and Janice both are graduates of Iowa State College. James married Marlene Buettell (also an Iowa State graduate) and they live in Morris, Illinois. Janice married Lloyd L. Anderson (an Iowa State graduate, member of the ISU faculty and a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture). Janice died in 1966. Soon after her death, Dorothy and Rey established the Janice Peterson Anderson Excellence Award and Scholarship in Design at Iowa State. They have continued to provide generous support for this fund in memory of their daughter, who had a strong interest and talent in art.

Dorothy and Rey celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1979. Rey died in April 1986. Dorothy has 5 grandchildren (three of whom are Iowa State graduates) and 6 great-grandchildren. She lives at Wesley Acres Retirement Center and remains active in Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines.