Cover photo for Thelma Peterson's Obituary
Thelma Peterson Profile Photo
1918 Thelma 2018

Thelma Peterson

October 17, 1918 — November 5, 2018

Thelma (Bartlett/Scheffler) Peterson, 100, of Gothenburg, Nebraska passed away November 5, 2018, capping a life that spanned two centuries and witnessed change that may have seemed unimaginable in the year of her birth. She was born October 17, 1918 in Cozad, NE, daughter of Wyrthy and Delia Bartlett. She was baptized at the Walnut Grove Church, north of Cozad, in 1923.On October 5, 1939 she married Norvin H Scheffler in Lexington, NE. He was killed in action on Okinawa on May 10, 1945 while serving with the 1st Marine Division. On June 21, 1947, she married William F. Peterson; they enjoyed 52 years together. Bill passed away in 1999.

She was a Cub Scout leader, Brownie leader, past president of the hospital Auxiliary and held several offices in the United Methodist Church. Thelma was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Brave, witty, sharp, independent, ...Thelma, known by many as “TeeDee”, was an amazing woman. She raised five children, sometimes on her own.  She braved the loss of one husband to World War II and another to cancer. She taught her children to be self-reliant and resilient as she was— to fix their own problems, to fight for what they wanted, but to be kind along the way. Thelma spent hours making May baskets and Halloween costumes, ran Boy Scouts and Brownie meetings, drove her children to athletic events, and nurtured her family in sickness and in health.

With one raised eyebrow she could convey a strong assessment of her children’s choices; yet was indulgent when it came to horses, mini-bikes, pole vault pits, zip lines, etc. all in the back yard. Thelma took in her children’s friends as well as relatives when they needed a long term home. She taught that when you’re learning to play poker, you must play with real money or you won’t bet right. “Everything good that we know, we know from her.”

She loved her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.  She loved to play cards, go to the horse races, see a good musical, travel, explore, play with her grandchildren, tell jokes, dress up for Halloween and vote. She took classes from the University of Nebraska via correspondence. She loved to read and visit the library, play any card game, go to movies and watch football. She loved parties, a nice bottle of wine, popcorn and a good scotch and water.

Thelma witnessed a lot of changes over her 100 years. Most of them good. She wanted to go to the moon: she wanted to see a woman president in her lifetime: she wanted equal rights for all people.

Proud, an excellent dresser, and funny, Thelma could tell a story and she could make a friend in 5 minutes.  She held her children accountable for their actions and they consider themselves lucky, so lucky. Terry, Dave, Jim, Mark and Marianne are left to carry on her legacy the best way they know how.  And they know how, because they learned from the best.

She is survived by her children and their spouses whom Thelma also loved dearly—Terrence Scheffler (Merlynd Aden), David Scheffler, (Marilyn Olds) James Peterson (Susan Riley), and Mark Peterson (Jane Anthony), daughter, Marianne (Peterson) Adams (Charlie), sister Donna Laird, brothers, Dale Bartlett, and Lyle Bartlett, 14 amazing grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren, along with many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Thelma was preceded in death by her parents Wyrthy & Delia Bartlett, husband, Norvin H. Scheffler, husband, William F. Peterson, brother, Wayne W. Bartlett, sisters Opal Ogorsolka and Glenna Young, and grandson David Scheffler.

She’ll be with us everywhere that we are.

Services will be held at First United Methodist Church, November 13, 2018 at 10:30 am with Pastor Jamie Norwich McLennan officiating.

Interment will follow at the Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, Nebraska.

Memorials may be given to the Gothenburg Community Playhouse, Gothenburg Public Library or the Gothenburg Tree of Life memorial.  To sign the online guest book, go to

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thelma Peterson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

, Gothenburg, NE 69138

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