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Ellen Burns Peterson

Ellen Burns Peterson
  • December 28, 1947 - September 23, 2018
  • Westborough, Massachusetts

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Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
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Memories & Candles

“Ellen was my supervisor at BU and I always remember her great sense of humor. Love to her family,Christine Titus ”
1 of 5 | Posted by: Christine Titus - Nahant, MA

“So sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. - The Magill Family ”
2 of 5 | Posted by: Karen Magill - Grafton, MA

“I was fortunate to learn a lot from Ellen as her colleague at BU. She made such a big impact on all of us. I am so sorry for your loss. ”
3 of 5 | Posted by: Kristin McAuliffe - MA - Coworker

“Dear Rick and Priscilla,Sorry to hear about your sister Ellen.Sending prayers for you and her family.Andrea and Bob Turner. ”
4 of 5 | Posted by: Andrea Turner - Malden, MA

“Sorry for your loss. ”
5 of 5 | Posted by: John St. Marie - Worcester, MA


On Sunday, September 23, 2018, Ellen Burns Peterson, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and sister passed away unexpectedly at the age of 70.

Ellen was born on December 28, 1947, in Medford, MA, to the late Richard and Florence (Carr) Burns. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cardinal Cushing College and her Master of Education degree from Suffolk University. On July 14, 1974, she married James Oliver Peterson, Esq. They raised three daughters, Katie, Sara and Carrie.

Ellen was an exceptionally loving, caring, thoughtful and selfless person who found great joy in helping others. She will be celebrated for her strength, both emotionally and morally. Her endless hard work, her devotion to her family, and her kind patience will be remembered by all. She touched the lives of all those around her.

She worked as the Director of Undergraduate Student Services for the Metropolitan College at Boston University for fifteen years. Prior to that, she worked at Suffolk University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. She thoughtfully and successfully guided thousands of students through their college careers.

One of Ellen's passions was theater. She served on the Board of Directors for Weston Drama Workshop for many years, including holding the position of President. She was an avid reader. She loved The Beatles and singing along to Bonnie Raitt in the car. She loved to travel and explore new places, art and history. She hosted international students studying in the Boston area. She would often watch talent shows on television, rooting for her favorite contestants to win. However, her favorite thing to do was to spend time with her grandchildren. No matter what the activity, she would always make everyone smile.

Ellen was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Florence (Carr) Burns; parents-in-law, Oliver and Alice Peterson; and sister, Nancy Owens. She is survived by her husband of 44 years, James O. Peterson, Esquire, of Westborough; her daughter, Katherine T. Peterson of West Springfield; her daughter, Sara E. McGrath, and her husband, Jeffrey D. McGrath, of Grafton; her daughter, Carrie A. Peterson of Westborough; her grandchildren, Addison E. McGrath and Zachary W. McGrath; her brother, Richard Burns, and his wife, Priscilla Burns, of Malden; her brother-in-law, Robin Owens, of Holden; four nieces; and many cousins.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend calling hours from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, 2018, at Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street, Waltham, MA. A Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 1, 2018, at Saint Julia's Church, 374 Boston Post Road, Weston, MA.

Donations in Ellen's memory can be made to Weston Drama Workshop, P.O. Box 441, Weston, MA, 02493, in lieu of flowers.