Cover photo for Dorothy Peterson's Obituary
Dorothy Peterson Profile Photo
1932 Dorothy 2023

Dorothy Peterson

March 14, 1932 — September 8, 2023



Dorothy Hawkins Peterson

Dorothy Hawkins Peterson, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, artist, and educator, passed away on September 8, 2023.  Dorothy was born on March 14, 1932, to Ernest and Ethel Hawkins and grew up in Moriarty.  Her artistic ability emerged early and her father, a mercantile manager, encouraged her by supplying her with Walter T. Foster art books which she used to teach herself drawing.  Throughout her life, Dorothy also looked back fondly on childhood days spent on horseback, exploring the countryside around Moriarty.  It was during this time that she developed her deep love of New Mexico and the moody skies and shimmering vistas that became the subjects of many of her paintings.


Dorothy attended The University of New Mexico, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education.  While there, she also met her partner in life, John W. “Duke” Peterson.  Duke and Dorothy were married in 1954 and embarked on a 60-year marriage, which produced two children, John, and Anne.  While living in Midland, Texas in the 1970s, she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa.


While raising her family, Dorothy was active in the communities where they lived, especially through active membership in the First United Methodist Church.  Her artistic drive also took many forms.  She painted every day, and entered many shows, building a reputation as a skilled and sensitive chronicler of New Mexican villages and landscapes.  She also taught art history and art appreciation for over a decade at Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell, as well as painting classes in numerous venues, including Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM and La Romita, Italy.  She was appointed by three governors to represent Southeastern New Mexico for many years on the New Mexico Arts Commission.  In 2014, Dorothy was honored with a Heritage Award from The Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico for representing this region through her artistry and her contributions to the regional art community.  In 2017, the Roswell Museum and Art Center honored her with an exhibition of her work entitled "Dorothy Peterson - Painting New Mexico" that featured a selected collection of paintings as only she could capture the magic of her beloved Land of Enchantment. 


Donations in her memory may be made to the Roswell Museum and Art Center Foundation, 400 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 220, Roswell, NM  88201; Ghost Ranch, 280 Private Drive 1708, Abiquiu, NM  87510, or your favorite charity promoting the arts.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy Peterson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

10:00am - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

First United Methodist Church

200 N Pennsylvania Ave, Roswell, NM 88201

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