Helen Mae Heins Peterson was born on April 18, 1945 in Washington DC to parents Maynard and Marjorie (Schilling) Heins. She graduated from McLean High School, Fairfax, Virginia, 1963. She graduated from St Olaf College in the fall of 1966 majoring in art education. She played clarinet in the St.Olaf Band and enjoyed performing and touring with the Band. At St Olaf she met David Peterson who played bassoon in the band. Upon graduating from St.Olaf she taught elementary art in Preston, Minnesota, for short time in 1967.
Helen married David on July 1, 1967 in Alexandria, VA. They then moved to Denver, Colorado while David engaged in his military training.
Helen returned to Falls Church, Virginia, to teach art at Georgetown, Washington DC, while David served in Viet Nam.
In 1969 Helen moved on to teach art in the Champaign School District in Champaign, IL, while David attended the school of architecture.
Helen and David moved to Eau Claire, WI in July of 1971, where Helen subsequently began establishing herself as a professional artist and business owner.
Helen began her long career as Wisconsin-based artist making Christmas ornaments and working in the fiber arts. Later, she and two friends, established and opened Thistledown gift shop on Water Street, Eau Claire, WI. In 1979, Helen birthed her child, Cydney. During Thistledown's tenure, artistically, Helen specialized in creating specialty silk floral arrangements for home and business alike, and created one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces as well as whimsical drawings.
As the years progressed, Helen continued to build her artistic portfolio creating wonderful, colorful, whimsical designs on wooden wall plaques, tables, chairs, boxes, and more. She cultivated lasting friendships selling her art at the American Craft Counsel Craft shows across the country as well as galleries in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
For her entire life, Helen most enjoyed and found much comfort in spending summers at the family lake home on Deer Lake, WI.
She is survived by David Peterson - husband, Eau Claire, WI, Cydney Peterson - child (Adam Flogel), Eleva, WI, Maynard Heins - brother, Sterling Virginia, Marjorie Charlante- sister, Maryland, and three nieces.
Helen's life and her joyous art career will be celebrated at a later date.