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Mary Lou Peterson

Mary Peterson Newspaper copyMary Lou Peterson, our beloved mother, went home to be with her Lord and Savior and to reunite with many family members and friends on March 15, 2017. Mary was a lifetime resident of Erwin, Tennessee. Mary was the daughter of Lucious and Emma Foster Chandler. Mary grew up in the hard times of the depression but always in a loving family. Mary and her siblings all called their parents mommy and poppy all of their lives and all worked hard to maintain a happy home. Mary loved to sing with her family and spent evenings on the front porch singing to the Spivey Mountains often drawing a crowd at the bottom of their hill. Mary had one older sister, Beulah Tilson, one younger sister, Vivian Callahan and 2 younger brothers, Harold Chandler and Glenn Chandler, all deceased.


She worked at the Southern Pottery as a free-lance painter of dishes that became world known. At 24 years old she met a tall blue eyed, black headed, marine, that had returned from the South Pacific. Wayne B. Peterson was the love of her life. They married and had three children. Sadly Wayne B. passed away at age 45. Mary raised their 2 teenage sons alone. Also deceased in 2016 was one son, Wayne Peterson, Jr.


Mary loved being a homemaker and she later worked at Unicoi County Hospital. She was a wonderful cook and loved to feed everyone, always taking cakes and cookies and a cold drink to the trash men, electric men and workers that visited her home. Mary became a member of Hulen Avenue Baptist Church as a young wife and continued to attend and work within her church for many years for as long as her health allowed. She was the oldest living member of Hulen Avenue Baptist. Mary continued her love of singing with Wayne and his family. Southern Gospel was inherited from her and Wayne’s families and Heaven is surely celebrating with their voices. Mary also enjoyed traveling with her children and had visited many states. She enjoyed bird watching and gardening.


Left to cherish her memory is:

Daughter: Rebecca Peterson Howell and husband, Bob

Son: Ferrell Peterson and wife, Marcella;

Grandchildren: Chris Davis and husband, Stacey

Nikki Witt and husband, Lance

Josh Peterson and wife, Holly

Eric Peterson and wife, Kearstin

Great Grandchildren: Jonathan and Jordan Davis, Layla Peterson, Keelie and Blake Hall.

Also many nephews and nieces that she dearly loved, that confided in her as she kept their secrets and counseled them during their enjoyable long talks;

And also by family friends Melissa Moody and Amy Jordan.


A visitation period to share memories and offer support to the family of Mary Lou Peterson will begin at 1:00 PM and will continue until 3:00 PM on Sunday, March 19, 2017 in the Chapel of Valley Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 3:00 PM, Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Valley Funeral Home with son Reverend Ferrell Peterson officiating. A committal service will follow the service at Evergreen Cemetery on Sunday. Serving as pallbearers will be Josh Peterson, Eric Peterson, Stacey Davis, Jonathan Davis, Jordan Davis, Justin Crowder, David Light, and Lance Witt. Honorary pallbearers will be Mary’s nephews.


Condolences and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at These arrangements were made especially for the family and friends of Mary Lou Peterson through Valley Funeral Home, 1085 N. Main Ave, Erwin, 423-743-9187.