Julia Morgan's original drawings for our Clubhouse, Courtesy of Cal Poly Archives

Joan Petersen, a True Californian by Gini Griffin

April 09, 2015 11:06 AM | Linda Wilson (Administrator)

Joan Petersen is a true Californian.  Born in San Diego, she lived in the same house through childhood until leaving for college.  She grew up in beautiful, rural Mission Valley surrounded by cattle and horses.  A local used to say, "There go the Palominos!" when she and her tow-headed sister would ride by on their horses along the river bed.

Joan attended college at San Diego State and finished up at UC San Francisco as a dental hygienist.  She met her husband Dan, who was finishing dental school, at UCSF. When choosing a possible location to be stationed for his Navy service, he hoped for an exotic locale, but ended up being assigned to San Diego doing dental work on the Marine Corps recruits.

Once out of the service, Joan and Dan headed for San Luis Obispo where Dan's parents were living.  In 1959 there were only three houses for sale and they chose the one on San Luis Drive where they live to this day.  Joan's mother-in-law said that they shouldn't buy a place "in the bottom of the river", and Joan's response was that she had always lived "in the bottom of the river" and the nearby San Luis Creek was just fine with her.

Joan was introduced to The Monday Club by her mother-in-law, Lydia Petersen, who at one time was the Rental Chairperson.  For over 50 years she has enjoyed the fellowship of the Club and has made many dear friends. Community volunteering has been a life-long joy for Joan, including Questers and Alpha Chi Omega.  

Photo Below: 1951 Hi Jinx:

Front: Ada Howes, Lucy Holt, Mary Walker, Bess Pfleghaar, Ollie Williams; Back: Mary Law, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Corvin, Mabel Palmer Rotzell, Lydia Petersen, Florence Ssandercock, Mary Griffin

Howes, Holt, Walker, Pfleghaar, Williams, Law, Brown, Corvin, Rotsell, Peterson, Sandercock, Griffin

Joan worked for many years as a hygienist with her husband.  She has three children: Margo, an operating room supervisor at UC Mt Zion; Eric, who lives at home and suffers from severe diabetes; and Allen, a data analyst in Las Vegas.  Two grown grandchildren live in San Diego, one of whom owns a winery.  She enjoys visits from her 4 year old granddaughter who lives in Paso Robles.

The Petersen home on San Luis Drive is beautifully landscaped with an impressive garden wall and a koi pond sporting 3 vigorously splashing fish.  The home interior includes a 

beautiful collection of paintings by local artists.  There is a display of tiny China butter dishes, rows of old tea tins, a herd of tiny wooden, stone, and metal elephants, amusingly shaped tea strainers, and more green glass than one would normally encounter in a lifetime.  Joan likes to collect!

Dan and Joan enjoy traveling and have been to every continent.  They recently returned from Sri Lanka.  They both remain very active, exercising their minds playing bridge, and their bodies by walking.  She was an avid bicyclist until her second concussion, at which point her doctor nixed that sport.  She contents herself with her daily walks (at least 3 full turns around the high school track and finishing by jogging the fourth loop).


Aside from traveling together, Joan and Dan also like to hunt. At Thanksgiving the whole family, children and grandchildren included, enjoy pheasant hunting.  She enjoys San Luis Obispo living and says "It's always good to come home!”

Be sure to greet Joan at our next Club meeting. She’ll be a tall, elegantly dressed woman with a diamond ring on each and every finger!

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