Obituary: Betty Peterson March 26, 1930 – Feb. 26, 2017

BETTY W. PETERSON March 26, 1930 Feb. 26, 2017

Betty Peterson, loving mother, sister, grand- and great-grandmother passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family after a long illness.

Betty was born on March 26, 1930 in Nocona, Texas and moved with her family to Los Alamos in 1944 to work on the Manhattan Project. Betty spent time between riding horses, ice skating and attending Central School, graduating in 1948 before attending Texas A&M College.

After returning to Los Alamos, beloved horse in tow, she was briefly married and had a son, Ken. In 1960 she married Harry Waugh, a Mechanical Engineer at the Lab, and had a second son, Mark. She loved adventure and the outdoors, and worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for years as a Data Analyst, first in the personnel office and then at the Meson Physics Facility.

A neighbor, Rolf (Pete) Peterson, a Physicist at the Lab, taught Betty and Mark how to ride motorcycles, which, in addition to figure skating, and arts/crafts, became her passion. In 1979 she married Pete and bought BMW touring bikes to tour the Western US. They had cabins in the Colorado Rockies accessible by snowmobile in the winter, and hauled dirt bikes to them in the summer. They explored ghost towns, mining camps, hiked and rode motorcycles, returning to the cabins at dusk to warm up and make dinner on the wood-burning stove. They moved from Los Alamos to Santa Fe in 1998 after both had retired from LASL and continued to enjoy their shared passions until Pete’s passing in 2001.

She is preceded in death by her mother Frieda and father Emmet Williamson of Espanola and sister Merihelen Ciesiel of Baker City, Oregon. She is survived by her son Ken and wife Eileen of Girdwood, AK; son Mark of Santa Fe; grandchildren Leigha Waugh, Kaliegh Thompson and husband Sean of Anchorage, AK; Willow and Callum Waugh of Albuquerque; and great grandson Carson Thompson of Anchorage; as well as six nieces and nephews; and beloved friends Eva Villanueva and Barbara Pearson, who helped immeasurably during her final years.

A memorial will be announced at a later date. In memoriam, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org). Mom, we miss you.

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