Andrea Elizabeth Kopczynski Peterson
Andrea Elizabeth Kopczynski Peterson, of Hermantown, MN, left our earthly world on Easter Monday, April 2, 2018. She was 44 years old.
She had been living with the debilitating realities of scleroderma. She died peacefully and her suffering has ended; she now lives freely as the dynamic, joyful, articulate, strong, fierce spirit she has always been.
Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, to Barb and Ed Kopczynski on November 20 1973, Andrea was raised in Saudi Arabia, along with her sister Erica and brother Patrick, both of whom she adored. She attended Culver Academy in Indiana and spent the summers of her high school years in Los Angeles and on Lake Mead.
Andrea shared a 23 year love affair with her husband, Craig Peterson. They met in Florence, Italy, on New Years Eve and were married exactly one year later on December 31, 1995. Andrea and Craig lived in Germany and travelled extensively when they were first married, then moved to Spokane so Andrea could complete her education from Gonzaga University. Soon after, Andrea and Craig chose to make a home in Duluth and become teachers. She was an early childhood special education teacher in Cloquet, and a middle school math and social studies teacher at the Marshall School.
A brilliant mind, Andrea used her base of knowledge, along with her Master's in Educational Technology from UMD, to become an award-winning graphic designer. In recent years she also authored Funemics, a phonemic awareness pre-reading skills curriculum.
Andrea and Craig have six beautiful, resilient, and deeply loved children: Sophie, Addie, George, Sebastian, Elliott and Henry. She treasured being a mother and made it a priority to find special time for snuggling, hiking, reading Harry Potter out loud, playing games, going to the beach, holiday traditions, making photo books and helping them feel better at the end of a hard day. Almost always, it involved cooking or eating together. Every year for their birthday, Andrea would have a special date night with just the birthday son or daughter. An annual tradition everyone looked forward to. Especially Andrea.
She loved her children, her husband and her life with every fiber of her being and fully committed herself to a hopeful recovery from illness so she could stay here and continue living.
Andrea was an abundantly generous friend and honest sounding board. The strength of her hug matched the shine of her smile, which was outdone only by the pure joy of her laugh. She had a powerful light within that shone through every darkness. Andrea lived in the fullness of her faith, in a community of family and friends who loved her as much as she loved them.
Andrea is preceded in death by her brother, Patrick. Please tend to her, Patrick. We have sent you an amazing spirit whom we will miss beyond words.
Andrea is survived by her best friend and husband Craig, their children Sophie, Addie, George, Sebastian, Elliott and Henry. Her parents, Barb & Gary Bain and Ed & Josephine Kopczynski and her sister Erica whom she loved dearly. Craig's parents Barb & Lynn Peterson, his sister and brother in law Kristi & Steve Lent and an incredibly loving extended family and network of wonderful friends.
A funeral mass will take place at 11am on Wednesday April 11th at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Duluth, with a visitation starting at 9am. A celebration of Andrea's life will immediately follow at Clyde Iron.
Andrea, you have been an amazing gift to us. May you be lifted into the light and the loving, tender arms of Our Creator, and be cherished there, as we cherished you here. Amen.