Thousands of students will sorely miss a much-loved teacher who impacted lives for more than 43 years.
Dawn Peterson, 85, is wife of the much-respected educator Kevin Peterson. She passed away peacefully on August 25 at Middlemore Hospital.
Mr Peterson describes his wife of 59 years as a very gentle, kind, considerate and sympathetic person.
The 94-year-old Howick local says his wife Dawn succumbed to a recurring chest infection, Bronchiectasis.
The former headmaster of Cockle Bay Primary takes pride in the fact that between his late wife and him, the two of them taught for a century.
“I taught for 58 years and she for 43 and together we made it to 101,” he says.
“My wife was a wonderful class teacher. I have to say that she was born to be a teacher!” he says.
“She has been a good mother to my sons David, who is 58 now, and Andrew, 56, who is a lawyer; and a loving mother-in-law of Natasha and Laetitia. My older son David lives in Australia and, unfortunately, is not allowed by the government to be here for his mother’s funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Both my sons ring their mother twice or thrice a week to find out how she is doing.
“Dawn was hospitalised twice before, due to the chest infection. The infection affected her heart and they couldn’t kill the bug this time. She tried very hard to survive but in the end, it got to her.”
Remembering the time she taught at Cockle Bay Primary, Mr Peterson says, ”She had the reputation at the school for being the quietest teacher. She was very quiet and determined. Every child in the school appreciated her quality and responded to it. The children respected her a lot.”
To acknowledge the contribution that Dawn and Kevin Peterson made at Cockle Bay School, a new school block containing six classrooms and a multi-purpose area was named the Peterson Block.
“We would have celebrated our 60 years of marriage in December this year. I am 10 years older than her and she knew she had married an old man….she has been a wonderful wife for 59 years,” he says.