Martha Jane Hart Peterson passed away peacefully on July 13, 2023, in Chariton, Iowa. A visitation will be held from 4:00-6:00pm on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, at Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton. A funeral service will be held at 10:30am on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at Pierschbacher Funeral Home. The service will be followed by a luncheon at the First United Methodist Church in Chariton, followed by interment at Niswender Cemetery.
Martha was born on November 7, 1915; the seventh of nine children and lived to the age of 107. She was born to Netti and Bill Hart and was named after her grandmother, Martha Jane Holliday of Promise City. As a sophomore, she left school, and together with her sister, Kathleen, they helped support their elderly parents.
In 1934, she met and married Paul Peterson from Oakley. They started a farming operation as well as starting their family with the birth of Don and Sharon. After WWII, beauty school could be attended without a high school diploma. Martha went to beauty school and graduated as the valedictorian of her class.
The family bought a house across from Alma Clay School, and Martha established a shop in front of their home. She did most of the teachers’ hair. Because of this, her children couldn’t get away with anything at school. She continued with this shop until 1956, when they moved to a new house on the farm. Martha then continued her shop in different locations in town until her retirement after 37 years.
Martha and Paul then enjoyed their farming operation, their family, and many trips. These trips included seven winters in Apache Junction, Arizona. In 1974, they sold that farm and built a new house on their acreage in Oakley. Paul passed away in 1999, and Martha continued to live in her home on the farm, surrounded by her family. Martha’s home was always the gathering place. All were made welcome and usually fed. She could be seen driving her Gator in the yard, even at the age of 105, wearing her dust cap.
Martha had a good and full life. Starting as a farm girl with no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and a horse and buggy for transportation; and living into the age of computers and space travel. Martha was special to so many people and will never be forgotten.
Martha is survived by her daughter, Sharon Smith; 5 grandchildren: Cindy Masters-Moody, Mala (Randy) Thomas, Scott (Danielle) Peterson, Chris (Joy) Shriver, and Kathy (Mike) Steinbach; 12 great grandchildren; 22 great-great grandchildren; and a great-great-great grandson. Along with many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Preceding Martha in death were her parents, Bill and Netti Hart; 8 siblings; husband, Paul; son, Don Peterson and daughter-in-law, Joyce Peterson; 3 grandchildren: Curt Shriver, Kerry Lynne Shriver, and Michael Paul Peterson; grandson-in-law, Jeff Moody; and a great grandchild.
Memorials in Martha’s name can be made to First United Methodist Church of Chariton or Niswender Cemetery at Liberty Township Trustee, 19782 530th St., Chariton, Iowa 50049.