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Willa Joan Peterson

Willa Joan Peterson

Willa Joan Peterson


- July 8, 2019

Willa Joan Peterson, one month old daughter of Paul and Mika (Tibbs) Peterson, of Dupree, SD, passed away on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at the IHS Hospital in Eagle Butte, SD.

Funeral services for Willa will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the United Methodist Church in Faith, SD.  Burial will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon at the Dupree Cemetery in Dupree, SD.

Visitation will be from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday evening, July 9, 2019 followed by a prayer service at 7:00 pm all at the United Methodist Church in Faith, SD.  

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart

Our sweet Willa Joan’s story began on May 31, 2019. She was so excited to meet her parents and brothers that she almost didn’t wait for the doctor to show up and had her nurses running. She announced her arrival and quickly snuggled into her mother’s arms.  Her proud father stood by waiting to rock her and give her loving words.

Willa spent 13 days in the NICU charming her nurses and anyone else that came to see her. She was quiet and sweet only giving out a baby’s shout when she was hungry or just wanted to remind you she was there and wanted a snuggle.  Her Dad took great pride in being able to coax her to eat her whole bottle as we worked to get her home. Her Mom made sure she was fashionably dressed and had plenty to eat. Together they comforted her during lab draws, fatigue from therapies, and held her close keeping her nice and warm. She was always aware she was loved and had them near.

Willa got to spend 21 wonderful days at home in Dupree and at the ranch by Faith with her family.  Her brother Calder reminded others she was “mine,” loved to rock with her, help his Mom feed her and tickle her feet.  Riley watched over her fiercely, loved feeding her and held her whenever he could.  Dawson loved visiting with her and couldn’t wait to teach her to shake hands. Parker was her quiet protector and held her gently, savoring his moments with her.  She was so adored by them!

Willa Beans loved her massages, having her head rubbed and quickly figured out she liked snuggling better than her bassinet. We were all glad to oblige. She was ticklish which we got a kick out of ~ her Dad most of all.  Willa looked around wide eyed, taking everything in.  Her unicorn binky was her favorite.  Willa was so beautiful and looked absolutely darling in pink and her cute little hats. The smiles and looks she gave us, her little squawks for attention, her perfect little lips and chubby cheeks captured our hearts.

Our Warrior Princess was born with difficulties we couldn’t see that she fought and we all prayed would resolve. Her tiny heart held so much love for her Mom and Dad but was not strong enough to keep her with us though we prayed with all our hearts and souls it would be. Willa took her last breath in her Mother’s arms on July 3, 2019.  Despite the efforts of her Mom and medical team God led her gently away with her parents by her side.  While we all hoped for chapters in her life she gave us a lovely novella instead.

Lucky for having her in their lives to love are her parents Paul and Mika, brothers Parker, Dawson, Riley and Calder, Gramma Kathy and Grampa Harvey McPherson, Papa Mike Tibbs, Gramma Joey and Grampa Gary Peterson, Great Aunt Jeri Lemke, Aunt Jami and Uncle Jim Sheridan and Dalton, Shari and Katie Rose, Uncle Shawn Tibbs and Aunt Steph Kuemper and Jordyn and Cayle, Uncle Matt and Aunt Lynn Peterson and Anna, Aubrey and Claire, Aunt Neilie and Uncle Doug Goodwin, Uncle Kevin and Aunt Marca Tibbs and Will, Uncle Brian and Aunt Jody McPherson and Bradyn and Molly, Uncle Brad McPherson and Brady and Breckin,and many other aunts, uncles, cousins and honorary family.  She was met in heaven by her brother Mason and other loving family members who had gone before her but never had a chance to meet her.

We would like to thank the Sanford Health NICU nurses, doctors and support staff, Dr Margaret Upell and team, the Faith Ambulance crew, and CRSU ER team for Willa’s care.  Special thanks to our families,  Jason and Nicole White Wolf, Arlette Hager, Eunice and Marcus Hollow Horn, Bernita In The Woods, Dr Jaysia Jimenez, Keri Fischer, Johnna Watt and Millie Martinez who were all there with us and all those who loved and prayed for our “extra” ordinarily beautiful girl.  Thank you also to Barry Oakie for his comforting song of prayer for Willa and our family.

Please consider donations in Willa’s memory to the following that helped us while we tended to our sweet baby, provided support and celebrated her life: Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Dakota, Wonderfully Made Baskets and Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network.



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