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Peters Statement on the Passing of His Mother, Madeleine Vignier Peters

DETROIT, MIBelow is a statement from U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) on the passing of his mother, Madeleine Vignier Peters, Tuesday at the age of 96:

“My mother was the cornerstone of our family. Our hearts are shattered at her passing. She lived her incredible life to the fullest, devoted herself to her family and spent her life helping everyone she met.

“My mother grew up in Reims, France and – at age 15 – she was forced to flee Nazi Germany’s invasion of her hometown, even hiding in a ditch to escape danger. I remember her telling me about how difficult life was under Nazi occupation: work was difficult to find for my grandparents, my mom and other children were forced to scavenge fields for raw materials just to get by, and daily life and schooling interrupted. It was an incredibly uncertain future.

“That’s why I will never forget the sheer joy my mother would have when she would tell me about how the Americans freed everyone from Nazi occupation. During the war, my mother met an Army First Lieutenant named Herb Peters, who was stationed in her town and served in Eisenhower’s Headquarters following the invasion of Normandy. My mother spoke very little English and he spoke very little French.

“But love has a language all its own: and my mother and father married and moved back to the United States.

“When she moved to Michigan, my mother worked as a nurse’s aide, dedicating her life to improving the health and wellness of others. She was a firm believer in the right for workers to band together – and organized her workplace as an SEIU steward. She taught me the values of hard work – and to always stand up for what is right.

“She was someone I could always turn to. She was full of life and had an infinite amount of love to give to all who knew her. She would knit hundreds of scarves and hats through her church that were donated to the homeless during the winter.

“Colleen, our three children along with my sisters and their families are grieving her loss and miss her deeply.

“Her powerful legacy and life lives on in all the lives that she touched – and will continue living on for generations.

“And I take comfort knowing that she is now reunited with my father – and together – they are watching over us.”

A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 17 from 4:00 – 8:00 PM at Pixley Funeral Home in Rochester, Michigan. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Friday, June 18th at 4:00 PM. Madeleine Vignier Peters’ obituary and additional information can be found by clicking here.

Madeleine Vignier Peters’ oral history of her experience during World War II was recorded for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, and can be viewed by clicking here.