Liliane Louise Petersen

July 16, 1925 - July 28, 2021

Liliane Louise Petersen

July 16, 1925 - July 28, 2021


Liliane Bozzalla was born in Grenoble in 1925. She was orphaned at age 5 and raised by her Aunt Jeanne on a small subsistence farm in the Alps of France.  Life was hard but they managed with the help of the extended family. Liliane was smart and her aunt was able to send her to Catholic boarding schools for her education. In 1940, at the age of 15, her aunt became paralyzed and she spent 6 months nursing her alone, isolated by distance, the cold winter and the Nazi occupation of France. Her aunt passed away 6 months later and Liliane, emancipated at age 15, faced the rest of World War 2 on her own. Unbeknownst to Liliane at that time, she had partial Jewish heritage and so she was fortunate to have survived the war. She took the money her aunt had left her and used it to continue her education.

Upon graduation, she worked for a tourist resort on the beautiful Lac D’Annecy.  She decided to go work in England to learn English, first as a ladies’ companion, then as a nanny, and finally as a student in a secretarial school. On returning to France, she worked at TWA on the Champs Elysée in Paris where she heard of an American Company advertising hefty salaries for bilingual secretaries. She was hired and moved to Casablanca, Morocco where she met her the love of her life, Frederick K. Petersen of Brooklyn, New York. They married in 1952, and their children Diane and Fred were both born there.

Liliane and Frederick lived all over the world (Morocco, Iran, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia) and finally moved to the US when Diane was 15 in order to provide a stable home and education for Diane and Fred in their high school years.  Once they were off to college though, Liliane and Frederick returned to their adventurous lives and moved to Zaire where Liliane was the administrative assistant to the Project Manager of a huge development project.  They finally retired to River Edge, New Jersey and Liliane proudly became an American.

After Frederick died in 1993, Liliane moved to Green Valley, Arizona where she built a rich life for herself, surrounding herself with wonderful and supportive friends. Each summer she would travel back to her small home in France where the rich memories of childhood were rekindled. Her family was blessed by the stories she told of her youth. They made their visits there come alive!

At age 90, Liliane moved to Mount Vernon, Washington in order to be closer to her children. But she continued to winter in her Arizona home and summer in her beloved old farm in the Alps. She continued to manage three homes right up until April of this year when she took a tragic fall. She lived a remarkable life, a strong independent and vibrant woman through and through. We will miss her so much!

She leaves behind her daughter Diane Staves, son Fred Petersen, 5 married grandchildren (Jason and Aarti Petersen, Jordan and Amber Petersen, Matthew and Adriana Staves, Jennifer and Rishi Mandal, Kelly and Nick Guy), and 8 greatgrandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, leave a story or a favorite memory you have of her in the online Guestbook. We will compile these in a book to remember her by.

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Liliane Petersen - Memorial Slideshow

23 responses to Liliane Louise Petersen

  1. Larry Sieker’s interaction and impressions of Liliane Petersen:
    I needed help with some French text from a bank located in Grenoble France. I contacted Liliane and asked her for some help in making clear what the text said. I knew only a smattering of French (survival type words and phrases). She was very happy to speak to someone in the Big Fir Association that had been to France. In fact we both had an interesting connection – she was born in Grenoble and I had worked in Grenoble. Anyway we got along very well. She more than once asked for help with her irrigation system and would often have beer for me in her fridge. My wife Donna and I had her over one time for tea and pasties and she confided that she had a very poor appetite for much of any kind of food now. She was indeed very thin.
    Anyway Liliane and I got to talking. I explained I was a scientist and had spent quite a lot of time in France. I had had two years of German in College but no French classes. Yet, over the years, I ended up spending many months in France. I asked about her history in France because I know she must have experienced the early years of the Nazi occupation. She explained she missed most of that having been in England and later in Morocco. While working in Morocco she had met and married an American with the name of Petersen who worked for a construction company for the military. Over the years they went to many different countries. I was impressed that she had such an interesting background. One thing that surprised me was she had three different homes. One in France, another in Tucson and a third up here in Mt. Vernon and that she still tried to go to all three each year!
    Liliane was an amazing lady. We’ll miss her.
    Larry Sieker & Donna Yu

    1. Diane says:

      Dear Larry and Donna
      She really enjoyed both of you and loved that you were Francophiles! Thank you for all your kindnesses to her and for the encouraging messages you sent her (and me) during her difficult last few month.
      She will miss you too!

  2. To Mrs. Petersen’s family I am sorry to hear of your loss. I will truly miss her as a friend and a client. I was lucky to have her as client for more than 20 years. As a client, she was a knowledgeable and well informed investor. As a friend I found her to be a keen observer of politics and world events. This often led to lively conservations when we spoke on the phone. Fortunately for me we shared many of the same views and opinions. She was a warm and caring person who will sorely be missed.

    1. Diane says:

      Thank you Robert. My mom had a very deep respect for you and was most appreciative of your financial advice and guidance. She mentioned you MANY times to me and my brother as she very much wanted you to keep on guiding her investments after her death! I suspect we will be in touch.
      Gratefully, Diane

  3. I met Liliane in 2010, shortly after the loss of my beloved Mother. We met through our mutual friend James Johnson, or JJ as we called him. I moved to the area to care for JJ, as he had fallen and broke his hip. Liliane was so warm and gracious, as she welcomed me to the area. Over the years we became great friends, sharing lunches, heartfelt conversations and life experiences. She was a blessing in my life during a very difficult time. Even our little doggies Bijou and Sushie bonded, sharing play dates.

    We lost touch when Liliane moved to Washington. She will always be in my heart as she positively impacted my life. I deeply miss and love you Liliane.

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