In Loving Memory: Sissel Hedvig Peterson

March 1, 1922 – January 22, 2019

Sissel Peterson

Sissel Hedvig Peterson

Sissel Hedvig Peterson died on Jan. 22, 2019, at the age of 96.

Sissel was born on March 1, 1922, in Haugesund, Norway. She came to the United States in 1925 with her parents, Magnus and Elisa Almaas, and siblings Olaf and Else. She had an idyllic childhood in Alderwood Manor, despite the Depression. She graduated from Edmonds High School and went on to Peterson Business School.

At a USO dance in Seattle, Sissel met Axel Peterson. One of the things he loved about her was that she played the accordion! They married in 1945 at Ballard First Lutheran Church. They started married life in a charming little house on 13th Ave., N.W., with Nancy arriving in 1952 and Norman in 1955. The family had a house built on Sunset Hill in 1956 and created a welcoming home, filled with music, friends, parties, and lots of love.

Sissel was active in the North End Flower Club, Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle, the Leif Erikson Lodge, the Norse Home, and the Nordic Heritage Museum. She grew gorgeous roses, was a Girl Scout leader, square danced with Axel, stitched beautiful Hardanger pieces, and loved going to Holden Village. She was a creative being and expressed it in so many ways.

She was very proud of creating the group, Tre Norske, with Juanita Holmes and Megan Eymann. Sissel played the accordion, with Juanita and Megan on violin. They played together for 20 years. The group continues and is a true legacy of Sissel’s love of Scandinavian music and her desire to share it with others. In some circles she was considered “the accordion queen of Ballard.” She was selected as honorary grand marshal for the Syttende Mai parade in 2012.

Many, many thanks to Providence Hospice of Seattle for helping Sissel stay in her home in the last year of her life. Special thanks to Marguerite, Mo, and Genine for their loving help, and to volunteers Terry and Sandon.

Sissel was preceded in death by her beloved Axel, brother Olaf, and sister Else. She is survived by daughter Nancy, son Norman, and honorary granddaughters Kellie, Mary, and Sonja.

In remembrance of Sissel, consider donating to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church or the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle.

This article originally appeared in the February 22, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.