Sharon Peterson, age 69, of Rice Lake, WI, died Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at her home surrounded by her loving family.

She was born on November 26, 1951 in Blue Earth, MN to Ellef and Alfield (Dahle) Erlien.  Sharon graduated from Twin Valley, MN High School in 1969 as their Valedictorian, Bachelor’s degree from Moorhead State in Moorhead, MN and received her Master degree in Math Education from UW Eau Claire.  During college and after college she worked at Glacier National Park.   

Sharon started her 45-year math teaching career at Ordean Junior High School in Duluth, MN from 1971-1978. There she met Jim Peterson and the two were wed on September 2, 1978 in Zion Lutheran Church in Twin Valley, MN. The pair had many hobbies including sports, hiking, skiing, and curling.  The couple enjoyed traveling all over the US and internationally together.

Sharon moved to Rice Lake, WI in 1978 and then completed 37 years at Rice Lake High School from 1978-2015 . Even after retirement, she taught Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB and BC for a semester with her daughter at the American School of Dubai.  During her time at Rice Lake, Sharon was a leader in math education, starting three math AP courses: AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and AP Statistics.  She also started the Math Team and tutored many students over the years.  Sharon’s love for math was apparent as she continued to tutor alongside her chemotherapy sessions until last spring.

Sharon’s excellence in education was recognized as she won a statewide teaching award and used the scholarship funds to buy a smart board for her classroom, the first in the district. She loved incorporating technology into the classroom and was a wizard with a graphing calculator.  Sharon had a special gift for teaching and was beloved by her students.  She made math education fun and her classes would make funny math t-shirts every year with math symbols and operations that only they could understand.  She inspired generations of students over her 45-year career, including many future math teachers.

Even after retirement Sharon still substituted in the math department, tutored students, and helped prepare them for the AP tests.

Sharon was a member of the Wisconsin Math Council, two years on the executive board, and spoke at the annual conference many times.  In the community, Sharon was an active member of the Rice Lake Area Scholarship Foundation, Fortnightly, and Rice Lake International Friendship Board. At Bethany Lutheran Church Sharon enjoyed playing Vesper Bells and mentoring for the Club 9 confirmation program.  

Sharon was an amazing supporter of her students and Rice Lake athletics.  She kept score at volleyball, basketball, and softball games, gymnastics meets, and track meets over the years. Sharon also loved the Rice Lake football program and attended several hundred high school football games since 1978 supporting her husband and enjoyed her time with all the football coaches’ families. For her dedication, she was awarded the Wisconsin Athletic Service Award. She was also a swim coach in Duluth and the head girls track coach for five years at Rice Lake.

Sharon is survived by her husband, Jim Peterson; a daughter, Kristi (Tim) Heath; a son, Steve (Jennifer) Peterson; five grandchildren, Owen, Nora, Emmett, Madeline and Noah; a sister, Yvonne (Tom) Ryan; two brothers, Chuck (Mari) Erlien and Duey (Betsy) Erlien; two great aunts and a uncle; many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents.  

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 20, 2021 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Rice Lake, Rev. Arthur Bergren officiating.  Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Friday at Bethany Lutheran Church and for one hour prior to the funeral service at the church on Saturday.  Appleyard’s Home for Funerals is assisting the family.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to start a scholarship for graduating students in Sharon’s name, or the Vesper Bells at Bethany Lutheran Church.   

You’re welcome to wear a touch of Warrior blue and gold during her visitation and funeral service.  Face masks are required at Bethany Lutheran Church.  Appleyard’s Home for Funerals is assisting the family.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

Recommended for you

Load comments