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Jeanne Arland Peterson's life is celebrated with stories, laughter & music

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: July 15, 2013 - 5:34 PM

That was no funeral. That was a celebration of Jeanne Arland Peterson’s life Monday at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Richfield.

And what a celebration it was — from Father Kevin McDonough’s opening wisecrack to the Steeles’ stirring a cappella "Without a Song."

The Peterson family also performed as did Oleta Adams, Wayne Cullinan, Mary Louise Knutson and others. And Don Shelby gave the eulogy. But let’s start with Father Kevin’s opening line.

"Welcome to the church where Jeanne prayed so deeply and regularly, saving the souls of those kids of hers."

The standing-room-only crowd roared with laughter. It was a service filled with laughter, applause, stories and, of course, music.

Oleta Adams, the R&B star with whom Paul Peterson (Jeanne’s youngest child) plays, offered "Is It Well with My Soul" and "Because He Loves Me" as solo piano/vocal numbers. The Peterson family — children and grandchildren — took everyone "Over the Rainbow," with separate vocal turns by Jeanne’s children Linda, Patty, Paul and Ricky, an uplifting sax solo by grandson Jason Peterson DeLaire and then all the grandkids singing as a chorus. Only the Petersons.

Shelby, the former WCCO TV and radio personality, delivered the eulogy, talking about Jeanne as WCCO’s featured vocalist when "radio really was radio," as a mother and a musician, concluding that the kids never had to turn around and ask her what key they were going to play a song in because "Your mom only played in one key — the key of love."

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