1951 - 2021
Kathleen Peterson

Kathleen Joanne Panovich Peterson passed away at the age of 69 on May 14, 2021. Kathleen was born to Joanne and Mickey Panovich; her mother was a beloved City of Torrance librarian and her father a celebrated coach and teacher at Gardena High School. Growing up in Torrance with her sisters Linda and Christine, she was active and inspiring, known to make people smile at family gatherings and at her many activities. She attended South High School, where she met Jack Peterson. Their first junior-year date was the prelude to what would become a lifetime of enduring love, respect and affection, punctuated by surprise adventures, which created endearing stories. Kathy cherished and retold those stories often, with a smile, as if they had occurred yesterday.
Kathy attended college at University of California, Santa Barbara, making life-long friendships and achieving a bachelor's degree in music with a minor in mathematics. In the fall of 1973, she moved to Berkeley to embark on her teaching career. During this time, Berkeley became a major touchstone of Jack and Kathy's lives. Kathy lived in Berkeley with her sister Linda for three years, completing her teaching credential at UC Berkeley and teaching math and music at multiple Bay Area schools. Jack was a law student at Cal during the same time. In the summer of 1978, Kathy moved back to the Los Angeles area, and in the spring of 1979, Kathy and Jack were married. They would have three children, Michael, David, and Jenele, who would bring shared joys for years to come.
Kathy's love and passion for music radiated to those around her. As a music major in college (with an emphasis on piano performance), she often performed classical pieces on the piano and sang in college choral groups. Years later, she ensured that all her children learned the piano, and she sang with The Neighborhood Church choir. Kathy made live concerts an important part of her life and was eager to be invited to new music. In 1995, she began teaching music at Montemalaga and Lunada Bay Elementary Schools, helping build the music program over 23 years. Each year she inspired hundreds of kids in her classroom, including many to sing in school choral performances.
The great joy of her life was building her family with Jack. Kathy was a source of strength and warmth not only to her children, who she cherished, but to her broader family, creating a closeness with their siblings and parents, and nephews and nieces. Kathy sought out live music, art, and theater, and took her kids with her, instilling in her family a lifelong love for music. With her family, she reveled in a dramatic win during a game of Hearts, usually at the expense of her kids. She was a sports enthusiast, supporting her kids and nephews through a variety of sports, and competing in tennis leagues for over twenty years, including playing doubles tennis with her sister Christine. As her kids grew, Kathy loved to plan adventures with them and stayed ready to
match their energy. She enjoyed meeting for concerts and shows, taking long mountain hikes and ski trips to Mammoth, learning piano duets, and playing with her grandkids.
Despite health challenges in recent years, Kathy was undeterred. She skied and played tennis, hiked with her kids and sang with her grandson; no matter the scenario she would brighten a room. Kathleen is loved and survived by many, including her husband Jack and their three children (and spouses),
Michael (and Sarah), David (and César), and Jenele (and Andrew); her two
sisters (and spouses) Linda (and Stuart) and Christine (and Christopher); and, her grandchildren Samuel and Liliana.
Published by The Beach Reporter on Jun. 19, 2021.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Memorial service
The Neighborhood Church,
Palos Verdes, CA
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

10 Entries
The Kramer Club Tennis Team
July 31, 2021
Gayle Taylor
July 27, 2021
Jack, I am so sorry for your loss. I never had the blessing of meeting Kathy. She certainly was a wonderful woman, loved by all. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Joan Wade (USAD)
Joan Wade
July 25, 2021
July 21, 2021
Although I only met Kathy a few times, its true that she lit up the room. Her smile was contagious. My heart hurts for Jack, her children, and her family. May the love and laughter she shared, continue to be a bright light, and warm your hearts.
Pam Lloyd
July 20, 2021
The Victory Group
July 6, 2021
another lovely soul gone far too soon. peace and solace to her much loved family. kp and my mother are making the afterlife much more musical and harmonious! ❣
andrea schuegraf
June 26, 2021
There are many things that bring people together. The Peterson's and Ritchie's friendship started with South High basketball. Jack starting on the best team South ever had to Jenele being a key player leading her team to the CIF finals. Sitting in the stands watching her play with Jack and Kathy were fun and exciting times. Kathy so nice, so kind left a lasting impression. Jack and Jenele mirrored her. Perhaps our best memory of her was seen and felt through her special family. Our thought and prayers are with the Peterson's.....
Ross, Diane, Samantha, Jessica Ritchie
June 25, 2021
I had the privilege to teach kindergarten at LB and Kathleen was our music teacher. She was a joy to work with, she was flexible and helpful and her students adored her. Her love of music was always apparent as was her patience with even the most challenging students. I was distraught when I learned that she passed away. I’ll always remember her. May her memory always be a blessing.
Raye Murphy
June 17, 2021
Kathleen brought joy to every life she encountered! She will always be alive in our memories and the magnificent family the she created with Jack!
Norm and Maureen Reeder
June 17, 2021
Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results