Kathy Jo Peterson, “Jo”

Kathy Jo Peterson, “Jo”

January 15, 1954 – August 30, 2018

Age 64.  Kathy Jo Peterson fought her entire life to make the world a better place. She was a mother, a grandmother, a teacher, a social worker, an activist, an organizer, a sister, a daughter and a friend. She touched the lives of so many through teaching: teaching children, teaching criminal justice, teaching social work, and by teaching people to empower themselves and to change the world. Whether her fight was local or national, she always championed peace and dignity. You may not have always agreed with her, but you certainly knew that she cared about what she fought for. The way that her actions were guided by an unflagging moral compass was infectious, and she was beloved by people from all walks of life. Her laugh and love still rings in the ears and hearts of everyone who was lucky enough to encounter her during her brief time on earth. Kathy Jo Peterson fought her entire life to make the world a better place, and she succeeded.

She graduated from Oakland-Craig Senior High in 1972 and obtained her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Social Work, both from the University of Nebraska Omaha. In the year 2000, Kathy Jo received the Gandhi Award from The Grace Abbott School of Social Work, an award meant to honor individuals and organizations that exemplify Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence, selfless service, and social action. Throughout the years she was the Youth Services Director at Region 6 Behavioral Health, Grant Writer and Project Coordinator for Nebraskans for Peace, as well as a Crisis Counselor at The Boys Town National Hotline. Her greatest passion was teaching. She was a respected and loved professor throughout Nebraska. Some of the schools she taught at were the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Metropolitan Community College, Creighton University, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Boys Town, and her beloved Dana College.

Preceded in death by father, Durwood “Kent” Bunderson. Survived by children: Josh B. Peterson, Francis R. Rhoe, Zachary J. Peterson, and Katlin J. Adams; mother, E. Ramona Hamann; stepfather, Deryl F. Hamann; stepmother, Myra Bunderson; sister, J. Lee Bunderson; brother, W. Eric Bunderson; granddaughter, Lux R. Thompson-Rhoe; and countless others who called her mom, daughter, sister, aunt, mentor, teacher, and friend.

The family will receive friends on Friday, September 7th from 5pm to 8pm at Augustana Lutheran Church, 3647 Lafayette Ave., 68131. SERVICES: Saturday, September 8th at 9:30am at Augustana Lutheran Church. Internment, Evergreen Memorial Park. Please send any donations to Nebraska Appleseed, 941 O St., Ste 920, Lincoln, NE 68506.



  • Melonie S Welsh Posted August 31, 2018 1:31 pm

    May each day bring a lessening of sorrow and peaceful reminder of the love that will live forever in your heart. Sharing your loss with deepest sympathy. Melonie & Doug Welsh

  • Jim Durdin Posted September 1, 2018 10:06 am

    Jo made such a difference in the world and was loved by so many of us. I hold her in my heart as I grieve.

  • Ardi Schoonover Posted September 1, 2018 11:18 am

    I cannot begin to know what this has been like for you. I am with you in prayer, in thought, and in spirit.
    When I think of Jo,, I recall her vibrancy, her intelligence, the amazing energy that I always felt surrounding her. This is a great loss. I pray you find solace in each other, the. multitude of friends who loved her and love you, and in the faith that the loss is ours, the joy is now hers.
    God be with you.
    With much love, Ardi Schoonover

  • Sydne Murua Posted September 2, 2018 9:56 am

    My sweet, brave, kind cousin Jo will live forever in the hearts of those who knew her, and in the good work done by those she touched. The world is truly a better place because she lived and shared her heart with all of us. Hope she’s getting hugs from those family & friends who went before her. I see a huge dining table full of loving, laughing family welcoming her. Warm tight hugs for all of us missing her here on earth.

  • Barbara Lindsay (Cousin) Posted September 2, 2018 9:57 am

    Every family gathering at my Grandparents house was spent playing together — the 4 of us. Sydne, Janet Lee, Kathy Jo & me. The four of us were close in age & we spent many hours together. We had a common bond – divorced or absent parents. Jo was always the quiet one, never said a harsh word, never yelled, always willing to go along, smiling, sweet & angelic. I’m sorry to say I did not get to know her so well as an adult – too many miles between us – yet, I always felt the “cousin connection”. We have lost a bright shining star & she will be remembered. We were blessed to have you in our lives — we are so proud of you!

  • Alesia Montgomery Posted September 2, 2018 3:00 pm

    Greg, Jessica , and I want to extend our condolences to the Peterson family. Jo’s daughter Katlin has been friends with Jess for years. May God bless and keep this family.

  • Robert Wagner Posted September 2, 2018 8:28 pm


  • Tricia Moore Ross Posted September 2, 2018 9:42 pm

    Thankful for the opportunity to have meet such a Beautiful Person in this life
    She was truly an Earth Angel
    Last time I visit her in the hospital she was trying to talk but wasn’t supposed to be talking so I didn’t stay to long. I will always remember her Beautiful Smile.
    To the Family sending my Prayers and Love
    Tricia’s Uplifting Card Ministry and Family

  • Alison Hicks Posted September 3, 2018 5:37 am


  • Jamise Williams Posted September 3, 2018 7:58 am

    K Jo, you will truly he missed. You kept things together for us. ??

  • Elizabeth Garber Posted September 4, 2018 8:40 am

    Thoughts and prayers from your Dana College family.

  • Holly Newman Dzyban Posted September 8, 2018 9:45 pm

    I met Jo via Nebraskans for Peace. We didn’t hang out together. I didn’t meet her family. I didn’t took her classes. Yet in those rare times when we were in the same place at the same time, I always looked for her. Jo’s smile had a way of making anyone feel at home, like you were exactly the person she was hoping to see.

    To Jo’s family: thank you for sharing her with us. She was a very special woman.

  • Susan McLaughlin Posted September 8, 2018 10:55 pm

    I met your mother only a few times in my life but she was a great human. Our world is missing some brightness this week.

  • Latrice Estell Posted September 16, 2018 6:57 am

    I learned of Miss Jo’s passing on Thursday it sent shockwaves through me, it feels as if it were only yesterday that we saw each other at Walgreens off Cass and I caught her up on where I was in my social work career. She taught Social Policy at NWU. Her zeal and determination to right the wrongs of the oppressed was contagious. My heart is sad to hear this news as our team has loss a mighty soldier. My heart is sad that I didn’t learn of this news until after her homegoing, My heart is extremely sad knowing her children and other loved ones are without her. I am thankful to GOD as I reflect on the last time we talked. I told her how much I appreciated her guidance, encouragement. We hugged and she said “I’m not surprised by all your accomplishments you will go far Latrice!” Our giggle and farewell smiles are the last memories I have. She was a wonderful woman with a beautifully kind spirit! Our world is better because of her work, thank you Miss Jo! i’ll miss you

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