Mintalu “Ellen” Peterson: 1937 – 2022

What do you write about your Mother, who spent her entire life doing for her family?

Mintalu “Ellen” Peterson; wife, mother, sister, and grandmother, passed away April 14, 2022 at age 86, after recently learning she had glioblastoma. Fortunately, for the majority of the time the disease existed, she did not know and showed very little signs of its existence. It wasn’t until the last few months, that a few signs started and not until the last two weeks of her life that its existence was learned.

After marrying her husband, Don Peterson, in 1953, they travelled the country following his work building electrical power lines. They lived briefly all over the country, as far east as Arkansas and as far west as California. Most of the time though, was spent in the southwest. Their more permanent residence was first in Montrose Colorado (where she will be laid to rest,) and in Cave Creek, Arizona (where the majority of her life was lived.)
Ellen and Don first came into Cave Creek in the early 1960s, when the power line construction was moving through southeast of town.

They came through town frequently in the next ten years, before purchasing their property on Spur Cross Road in 1972. In the fifty years Ellen lived here, she often volunteered to work the elections and would work the bake sales for the Desert Mavericks 4H club to which her youngest daughter belonged.

Ellen was an avid reader. Every ten days or so, she would check out 7-8 books from the Desert Foothills Library – read them all, then return and check out more. She had been going to DFL since it was in a small room at the Cave Creek Elementary School at Cave Creek Rd and Schoolhouse Rd. Books were always around, being read, and within an arm’s reach.

When she lived in Colorado in the 60s and 70s, Ellen belonged to a bowling league, and was pretty good! She has several bowling trophies and pins from the time period. She also bowled on and off when the family moved to Cave Creek, with other “Creekers,” Carol McCleary, Lynn Redden, and Joyce Butts.

Ellen loved her horses and enjoyed trail riding. She’d ridden most of the trails to the north of town, including Skull Mesa, Spur Cross Ranch to Seven Springs, Bronco Peak (China Wall,) plus many rides in the Mazatals. Although she hadn’t ridden the last twenty or so years, she still liked being around and watching the horses.

She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Donald Peterson, her sister Ann Blair, her children, Peggy Wenzel (Greg,) Donald Peterson, Jr (Cricket,) and Catherine Peterson, her grandchildren, Ellen Mercedes Wenzel (Zarko Kajgana,) and Alexis Peterson, and her Great Grandson, Felix Wenzel-Kajgana.

At her request, there will be no services.