‘Marlene (Peter) was my third- and fourth-grade teacher and my favorite,” said John Anderson, Dave Peter’s partner in The Galley Restaurant of Morro Bay.
“Mom taught half the kids in this community,” Peter said. “Everyone wanted Mrs. Peter to be their teacher. Regularly someone comments she was their best teacher while at Morro or Del Mar Elementary.”
Marlene Peter was born in Sisseton, S.D., on the family farm she and her sisters still own. When teachers were scarce, she taught before even graduating from the University of Wyoming.
There she met her husband, Gil. He was recruited to teach in Southern California, but Morro Bay became home once he interviewed at Cuesta College in 1966.
Until her retirement, Mrs. Peter preferred teaching with the San Luis Coastal Unified School District. She still lives in the home they purchased in 1968 where they raised their children, Cindy (Slaughter) and David.
“Family and friends, Morro Bay’s youth, the Congregational Church of San Luis Obispo and Prado Day Center are a fraction of what my mother does,” David Peter said. “For years she’s been the chairman of the Morro Bay Community Foundation to raise funds for youth recreation scholarships. She stays physically active and has driven for Meals on Wheels with her best friends, Sid and Beryl Bennett, forever.
“It amazes me that she and the Bennetts, Jim and Bev Marvel, and Joan and Harvey Petersen don’t miss a Friday night together,” Peter added.
“Since Mom and Dad were teachers, we had summers to tour every Western state park and on the way back farm to help Grampa with harvest,” David said.
“One of the great gifts a parent can give you is to be a positive example. When I was growing, I didn’t realize the impact, but the discipline to do homework and commitment to community still guide me.”
In light of Mother’s Day on Sunday, several family members wished to add to her son’s praises.
Daughter Cindy of San Diego said, “My mom was way ahead of her time. She had a career, not just a job, but I never felt like I didn’t have a stay-at-home mom.”
Jimmy Ellis, her other “son” and their foreign exchange student in 1976 said, “I wasn’t sure how to refer to Marlene. She was ‘Mom’ and 36 years later, I still call her ‘Mom.’ ”
Sanja Peter said, “My grandma always puts others before herself. She has taught me that it truly means much more to give than it ever does to receive.”
Aglaja Peter concluded, “If everyone in the world had the values of my mother-in-law and the drive to follow through and help others, this world would truly be a better place.”
Reach Judy Salamacha at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-1422.