Cover photo for Cynthia Ann Petersen's Obituary
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1922 Cynthia 2021

Cynthia Ann Petersen

October 10, 1922 — January 18, 2021

Cynthia Ann (Nelson) Petersen, the daughter of Amos and Albena Marie (Hansen) Nelson, was born October 10, 1922 in Atlantic, Iowa, and died on January 18, 2021 at the Exira Care Center in Exira, Iowa at the age of 98 years, 3 months, at 8 days.

Cynthia grew up on the family farm west of Exira. She graduated from Exira High School with the class of 1940. Following graduation, she attended Normal School training in Denison, Iowa, and became a teacher in the rural Oakfield Township School for three years. On February 24, 1946, Cynthia was united in marriage to Franklin R. Petersen at the St. John’s Lutheran Church west of Exira, and to this union was born three children: Richard Franklin, Diane Marie, and Linda Joy.

Following the wedding, Cynthia taught school for one more year before focusing on raising her children and working beside Franklin on farms both east and west of Exira. It was during this time that she acquired her love for the outdoors, working in her yard and gardens, raising flowers and plants. She carried this love of flowers, plants, and yardwork even after leaving the farm and enjoyed these activities once she moved into town. In fact, she mowed her own yard into her 80s before having a good neighbor take over. She moved into the Exira Care Center in 2018.

She held the position of Sunday School Superintendent at the Oak Hill Lutheran Church for quite some time. After the children were raised and out of the house, Cynthia returned to work with various employers. Franklin and Cynthia moved into Atlantic, Iowa, and here she also rotated working part-time for Spurgeon’s Department Store, the Cass County Memorial Hospital, and Heritage House, before retiring in 1989.

Cynthia was a long-time member of Exira Lutheran Church and was a member of the ladies’ circle there. She also participated in the ladies’ neighborhood garden club east of Exira, helped fix meals for Meals on Wheels, enjoyed sewing clothes and crocheting items for her family, reading, and loved attending the Exira Senior Center to fellowship and play cards with folks attending there.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Franklin R. Petersen in 1996; her son, Richard F. Petersen; her son-in-law, Duane Schrader; her parents, Amos and Albena Nelson; her brother, John W. Nelson; her parents-in-law, Jens and Mary Petersen; and her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Marjorie and husband Harold Landis and Donald and wife Betty Petersen.

Survivors include her children: Diane Schrader of Exira, Iowa, and Linda and husband Richard Wheatley of Omaha, Nebraska; her daughter-in-law, Linda Petersen of Exira, Iowa; her grandchildren: Michael and wife Pam Petersen of Corwith, Iowa; Amy and husband James Klemish of Adair, Iowa; Steven and wife Novella Schrader of Audubon, Iowa; Tammy and husband Jason Jensen of Elk Horn, Iowa; Bethany and husband Troy Bonacci of Gretna, Nebraska; Aaron and wife Mary Anne Wheatley of Omaha, Nebraska; and Stacy Brown of Adair, Iowa; her 16 great-grandchildren; her many great-great-grandchildren; as well as nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 11:00 A.M. at the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira, Iowa with Reverend Steven Frock and Reverend Richard Wheatley officiating. Interment will be in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery west of Exira. There will be an open viewing on Friday, January 22, 2021 from 12:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. at the Kessler Funeral Home in Exira. The family will not be present for the viewing. Casket bearers will be Michael Petersen, Steven Schrader, Aaron Wheatley, Troy Bonacci, Jason Jensen, and Jordan Schrader. Masks will be required for attendance at both events.

The family suggests memorials to Exira Lutheran Church (106 Harrison St. Exira, IA 50076), The Exira Public Library (114 W. Washington St. Exira, IA 50076), and St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (C/o Bertha Schroeter 401 Westside Dr. Exira, IA 50076). The Kessler Funeral Home in Exira is in charge of her arrangements.

Cynthia's funeral service will be livestreamed on KESSLER FUNERAL HOMES INC. Facebook page. You will need a Facebook account to view the service. To get to our Facebook page, you may scroll to the bottom of our homepage at, and click the Facebook logo to be taken directly there. 2-3 minutes prior to the service start, the video will appear in the timeline.
PLEASE NOTE: you will not find the video feed prior to the start of the service, so please refresh the page to see the video at 11:00. If you experience difficulties viewing the broadcast at the time of the service, the recording will remain on our Facebook page for additional viewing opportunities.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 22, 2021

12:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Kessler Funeral Homes, Inc. - Exira

234 West South Street, Exira, IA 50076

The family will not be present during the visitation. As a reminder, masks must be worn at all times while inside the funeral home.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

As a reminder, masks must be worn at all times while inside the church for the service.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


St. John's Lutheran Cemetery

, Exira, IA 50076

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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