ARLYS (LUHRS) PETERS
SIOUX FALLS, SD/FORMERLY OF HAWARDEN, IA
December 15, 1926 – January 8, 2022
A kind and giving person with an unconditional love of family, Arlys (Luhrs) Peters, 95, passed into the hands of her savior while holding the hand of her daughter, Jolee, on January 8, 2022 at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Arlys was born at the stroke of midnight on December 15, 1926 on the family farm near Primghar, Iowa. She was the oldest child of Alice (Klink) and William A. Luhrs and sister to brothers, Bill and Jim Luhrs.
The family resided on farms near Primghar, Sanborn, and Gaza, Iowa during her childhood where she attended rural schools through the eighth grade. During those years, she developed a life-long passion for learning, spending many enjoyable hours exploring nature, reading books, and writing letters to family members and friends.
Tragically, her mother passed away when Arlys was fifteen years old, leaving her to help manage the family household and care for her younger brothers. Four years later, her father married Nellie Riedeman who would become her beloved step-mother. The union of William and Nellie gave Arlys a step-sister, Bernita.
Arlys graduated from Primghar High School in 1945. Following her dream of becoming a teacher, she received a two-year teaching certificate from Iowa State Teachers College in 1947 and later a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Dakota in 1972. During her career as an educator, she taught first grade in Akron and Westfield, Iowa; opened the first pre-school in Hawarden and later joined the West Sioux school system, first teaching remedial reading and later first grade. Arlys’ teaching career spanned 27 years. When she began her teaching career, she told her parents she loved teaching so much she would do it for free if she didn’t need to pay her bills. After her retirement from teaching, she often heard from former students who shared how she had positively impacted their lives.
While teaching in Akron, Arlys had a chance meeting with Harvey Peters, a handsome local man who had recently returned to his hometown after serving with the US Army in Europe during World War II. A relationship quickly developed and they decided to marry. Because her superintendent discouraged the employment of married female teachers, they secretly eloped to Windom, Minnesota where they were married. Harvey was her life-long friend and loving partner for fifty-five years until he passed in October 2003.
Arlys dearly loved the Hawarden community. She taught Sunday School for over 20 years, was an active member of the United Methodist Church Women’s Society, the Hawarden Historical Society, the American Legion and Hawarden Hospital Auxiliaries, and the Planning and Zoning Board. She also volunteered with the Hawarden Thrift Shop.
Because of health issues, Arlys moved to Sioux Falls in May 2015 to live with her daughter, Jolee. There she continued her love of reading, especially murder mysteries, doing crossword puzzles and sending countless cards and letters to those she loved. She recently celebrated her 95th birthday and was overwhelmed to receive 115 cards from family, friends and former students.
Arlys will always be remembered and loved for the fun she brought to life whether playing ball with or giving ‘underdogs’ to her students on the playground at recess or fulfilling a bucket list wish to go on a hot air balloon ride over the Hawarden area at age 87. Coincidentally, the hot air balloon pilot was one of her former first graders.
Survivors include daughter, Jolee Thurn (special friend, David Anderson); grandchildren, Jeff Thurn (Paige); Jennifer Winn (Aaron Fuentes) Tony Winn; Ryan, Chris, Justin (Sally) and Jaime McHaffie; 14 great grandchildren, one great-great grandson, sister-in-law, Pat Luhrs and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were her parents, her stepmother, beloved husband, Harvey, daughters, Jeri (Wally) Winn and Rhonda (Elwood) McHaffie and infant son, David; her brothers, Bill (Carolee) Luhrs and Jim Luhrs, and step-sister, Bernita (Norbert) Baumgart.
Persons wishing to make a memorial gift are requested to send donations to the West Sioux Education Foundation or the Hawarden United Methodist Church. Condolences may be sent to www.porterfuneralhomes.com. The service will be livestreamed on her obituary page.
It was Arlys’ wish to be cremated and inurned at Riverside Cemetery in Akron, Iowa next to her husband and son David. Visitation with family present will be from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday, January 23, 2022 with a time of brief sharing and prayer service at 4:30 pm. A Celebration Of Life service will be at 11:00 am on Monday, January 24, 2022. Due to COVID, the luncheon is now cancelled. Both visitation and celebration service will be at the Hawarden United Methodist Church. Private inurnment services will follow. With consideration for the most vulnerable, masks are respectfully encouraged to be worn during services.