- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mary Peterson Schwenker, a longtime resident of Chevy Chase, died Jan. 15 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring of complications from pneumonia. She was 84.

Mrs. Schwenker was born in Columbia Heights, Minn. Her family moved to Bethesda before she entered high school, and she graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1939.

She attended the Washington School for Secretaries and worked for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., Underwood Elliott Fisher Co., and for a lawyer and Realtor’s office before leaving in 1942 to work for the Navy Housing Department in Honolulu.

Mrs. Schwenker met her first husband, Carl F. Peterson, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he worked for the U.S. Naval Construction Force. They were married in 1945.

In 1953, they began Peterson Pump & Plumbing, a business still in operation in Kensington.

Mrs. Schwenker was a founding member of Christ Lutheran Church and was actively involved at McLean Bible Church, Riverdale Baptist Church and Kensington Baptist Church.

She loved to sing and performed regularly for recuperating soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and the U.S. Soldiers and Airmen’s Home.

She was an active volunteer for the Republican Party, American Red Cross and the Ostomy Association.

Proud of her Norwegian heritage, Mrs. Schwenker was a member of several Scandinavian organizations in the area, including the American Scandinavian Association and the Sons of Norway.

Mr. Peterson died in 1990, and Mrs. Schwenker married Ralph M. Schwenker in 1992.

Mrs. Schwenker was interested in antiques, was an avid collector of glass and active member of the National Heisey Club. In later years, she enjoyed traveling the world.

Mrs. Schwenker was preceded in death by three brothers, Lloyd Hermanson, Harold “Buster” Hermanson and Robert Hermanson.

She is survived by her husband; a daughter, Christine M. Hart of Bethesda; two sons, John H. Peterson of Darnestown and Carl F. Peterson, of Chevy Chase; two sisters, Helen Martin of Silver Spring and Doris Huffman of Stevensville, Md.; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

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