Cover photo for Mary Lou Petersen's Obituary
Mary Lou Petersen Profile Photo
1932 Mary 2021

Mary Lou Petersen

April 26, 1932 — July 24, 2021

ary Lou (Girvin) Petersen Wagner 89 of Lewistown passed away Saturday afternoon, July 24th, 2021 following a significant stroke, occurring eleven days prior to her call from God to rejoin the love of her life, Gordon Petersen, Sr.  She was born April 26, 1932 in Indianapolis, IN the daughter of Thomas O. and Irene (Leamnson) Girvin. The family moved to Lewistown where she met and married Gordon Petersen, Sr. on August 17, 1950 at the First Presbyterian Church in Lewistown. Her love of family was evident to most by her incredible ability to make family and guests feel welcome and comfortable anytime of day or night. She could always find an extra plate for those who stopped by.

She worked as a waitress through most of her early years and she loved every minute of it. In the mid 1970's she moved into cooking and became Head Cook at Central Montana Hospital and Nursing Home in Lewistown. During this time, she took correspondence courses to earn a Dietary Managers Degree. Throughout this time, she became aware of her husband's illness of dementia and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. In 1987, she accepted a position as Dietary Manager at the Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd in Havre, MT with the stipulation that Dad would have a room at the home when it became necessary to have him admitted for 24-hour care. She was able to see him throughout her work day until his death in 1990. Shortly after his death she met Jim Wagner at a garage sale bonding over books. Finding that they had a lot in common they began dating and married a short time later. They were very involved in Eastern Star and Rainbow Girls and traveled to many meetings and conventions supporting a variety of community causes. Many years later they separated and Mary Lou stayed in Lewistown to be closer to her family, Jim returned to Washington to be with his family, where he passed away in 2019.

Soon after Mary Lou moved into Valle Vista where she met so many wonderful people who took good care of her over the last few years and we are so very grateful for the care she received. She always told us she loved her room and those who cared for her but was anxious to get back home.

She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Eastern Star Lodge of Grass Range and the Women of the Moose in Lewistown.

Mary Lou is survived by her children Thomas (Heidi) Petersen of Marysville, WA, Mary Ellen (Bill) Apple and Esther (Gary) Distad both of Lewistown; one step-daughter Kathy (Bernie) Sturn of Billings, MT; two sisters-in-law Ruth Girvin and Lilly Girvin both of Lewistown; one brother-in-law Ron Claver of Pasco, WA; 15 grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her first husband Gordon Petersen, Sr., second husband James Wagner, her sons Gordon, Jr. and Mark, her parents, one granddaughter Heather Petersen, 3 brothers and 4 sisters.

Graveside memorial Services for Mary Lou (Girvin) Petersen Wagner will be Sunday, September 12th, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. in the Veterans Section of the Lewistown City Cemetery with reception to follow at Brooks Market. Cremation has taken place and the Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Friends are asked to make memorials to the charity of their choice and they may be left with the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Lou Petersen, please visit our flower store.


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