Mary Etta (Gary) Hart Peterson

Born: Wed., Jul. 4, 1934
Died: Fri., Jan. 20, 2017


10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Sat., Jan. 28, 2017
Location: Providence St. John Baptist Church

Celebration of Life

11:00 AM Sat., Jan. 28, 2017
Location: Providence St. John Baptist Church


2:45 PM Sat., Jan. 28, 2017
Location: Lincoln National Cemetery

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Reflections of a Beautiful Life


On July 4, 1934, a vivacious spirit, Mary Etta Gary was born in Edenborn, Pennsylvania to Solomon and Ethel Powell Gary.  She was one of eight children.  

Mary Etta began her education at the Edenborn grade school, grades one through eight. As a child she was baptized at Antioch Baptist Church, Edenborn, and was an active participant in Sunday School, BTU training and the Junior Choir. Mary Etta was extremely talented and creative and loved to sew.  She would often take her mother’s discarded dresses to make clothes for her doll babies.

Mary Etta went on to attend and graduate from German Township High School in McClellandtown, Pennsylvania.  After high school, she attended Indiana State Teachers College in Indiana, Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in Home Economics in 1956. Mary Etta moved to Washington D. C. and began working and later continued her education, earning a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Trinity College.

She was united in marriage to Eugene F. Brewer.  From that union Mary Etta was blessed with two beautiful daughters, Beverly and Sharon.   As a young wife and mother, she started her government career as a manager of one of the GSA cafeterias.  Mary Etta later found her true calling as an educator in the District of Columbia Public School system where she retired after 38 years of service. Helping shape the lives and futures of many young people, she taught home economics, special education, floral design, and entrepreneurship.

Mary Etta’s world changed again when her heart lead her to marry James O. Hart.  She relocated her family to Forestville, MD.

Mary Etta was a dynamic diva who enjoyed sewing, millinery, real estate, cake decorating, ceramics, wedding/event planning, and etiquette training, all the while being FABULOUS!!!!! Mary Etta also had a green thumb and was extremely proud of her orchids.  

Family and friends were Mary Etta’s passion and delight.  She was extremely proud of her grandchildren and enjoyed spending time with them.  She also enjoyed spending time and traveling with her sisters also known as the “Golden Girls” and/or“Three Musketeers”

After a brief courtship, on September 27, 2003, she was united in Holy Matrimony to Arthur Leon Peterson, who preceded her in death. Known to Pete as his “Sugga,” they enjoyed thirteen years of true love and marital bliss.


Over the course of her life living in the Washington Metropolitan area, she served as an active faithful member at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of District Heights, Mount Ephraim Baptist Church and Providence Saint John Baptist Church.

On January 20, 2017 Mary Etta made her final transition.  She leaves to cherish her memories her daughters, Beverly (Gerald) Bellony, and Sharon (John) Sweatt; grandchildren, Lauren (Montae) Reed; Jaron and Jordan Sweatt; siblings, Ernestine Johnson, James (Beverly) Gary, Robert (Joyce) Gary, and Arlene Creek; stepsons, Michael (Patricia)  Peterson and David (Cheryl) Peterson;  several nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends.   She was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Peterson; sister, Anna Gary;  brothers, Solomon Gary, Jr. and Gothel Gary; and parents, Solomon and Ethel Gary.

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Condolence Booklet

Barbara Brown
   Posted Mon January 23, 2017
I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, It sadden my heart to hear of the passing of Mrs. Mary Hart Peterson my jewel. She was a jewel in my life, she was apart of the Discipleship Class of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. She was the senior in the class so much love and wisdom she shared to all. I will always treasure you in my heart. I am so happy that I got to spend time with you as well in September. Take your rest my sweetie and I will see you again in God's Big Heaven. Laid up for you is a crown from God along with your golden slippers and long white robe! So Beautiful

Linda Curry-Graham
   Posted Thu January 26, 2017
Ms. MARY WAS A GREAT FRIEND AND CONFIDANT TO ME. WHEN I MET HER IN 2004 at church Mt. Pleasant, we were supposed to be there for a computer class. But since there was only three of us we began to talk. I was really a walking depression. God led me to share with Ms Mary my struggles on finding a house I could afford. I did not know that God had already shown her my house. She told me she would get back to me. She called the next day and gave me the number to call after she "personally" checked out the house. The rest is history. That was just the beginning of my blessings. I am standing here now looking at this "dress" coat Ms. Mary made me buy so I could be fabulous she said. She did not listen to me when I said I did not like coats. I cherish that coat now especially in very cold weather. In September I went to Her church with her. I witnessed the love she had for the special young man that seemed puzzled that I was in his seat next to Ms. Mary. She whispered in my ear that she always had a piece of candy for him and then gave it to him. That was God's Love. He was happy as could be.she also taught me how to shop at Aldi for fresh fruit and veggies. I had never been in the store. Did not have a clue. I will miss my Friend and confidant when I come to Maryland from Georgia.

Robert Earl Rutland
   Posted Thu January 26, 2017


Deepest Sympathy and Our Sincere Condolences.

Sonny Whiten
   Posted Thu January 26, 2017
My condolence to the family.
Ms. Mary had a kind word and kind heart and smile every time I would see her. She was a great neighbor and friend.

Darling Richards
   Posted Fri January 27, 2017
My sincerest condolences to the family.

Gale Holt
   Posted Fri January 27, 2017
Mary, was a support, a mentor, and a wise and gracious friend to a young mom and pastor's wife during often stressful periods in my life. She taught me floral arrangement, furniture refinishing, clothing alterations, ceramic painting...and helped me navigate oh, so many things. She loved and supported and nutured her young pastor and she loved our children. I cannot begin to enumerate the blessings she was in our lives.

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