Debra “Debi” Kay Peterson passed away on the evening of November 16, 2019 at St. Peters Health in Helena, MT, surrounded by family and friends, at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer. She was born on February 8, 1957 in St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, MT to Larry and Nettie (Poe) Peterson, and was the second of five children.
Debi lived most of her life in Helena, with some time in Three Forks, Shelby, and Miles City, MT during the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s, the family moved back to Helena, where she was one of the first graduating classes from Capital High School in 1975. Shortly after graduation, she was married to Richard Mundt from 1976 until 1980. During that time, she worked for Mergenthaler Transfer and Storage in the main office. After her divorce from Mundt, she began working for the Montana State Department of Revenue for a few years. She decided to continue her education at the University of Montana in Missoula around 1983, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 1987, while also working at DOR during the summer months. She met Byron “Butch” Jenison in biology class at the U of M. They never married, but they had their only child in January 1989, a daughter, who was the pride and joy of Debi’s life. Later that year, Debi and her daughter moved back to Helena. She started working for the Montana State Department of Labor and Industry in February 1993, and was there until May 2018 when she retired after 25 years due to health reasons.
She is survived by her daughter Erin Jenison of Helena, soon-to-be son-in-law Nathan Peeling of Guelph, ON, twin brother Richard Peterson of Helena, younger sister Cathy Hartsfield of Tulsa, OK, step sisters Vivian (Chuck) Allen of Columbia Falls and Penelope (Pete) Quien of Kalispell, aunts Margaret Dietz and Cora Poe of Helena, brother-in-law Kim Kinney of Iowa, niece Sara (Andy) Baker of Tallahassee, FL, cousins Susan Carle of Lincoln, Shane (Naomi Cabrin) Hale and Carol Dykstra of Helena, and other nieces, nephews and cousins.
She is preceded in death by all of her grandparents, parents, step-mother Lola Jean Domer Peterson, sisters Gloria Kinney and Sharon Peterson, aunts Gladys (Don) Marion, Leona LaCourse, Donna Brown, uncle Howard Poe, and all of her great aunts and uncles.
Special thanks to Shane and Naomi Cabrin-Hale, Carol Dykstra and all of her co-workers for being there in Debi’s last days.
A pot-luck reception is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Cinemark Theater in Helena. A showing of Bohemian Rhapsody will be played during this time.
In her memory, the family has requested donations be made to the Melanoma Research Foundation.