Nov. 9, 1926 – Sept. 1, 2015
Jean R. Peterson, a retired lawyer who served for many years as Hamburg town attorney, died Sept. 1 in her Williamsville home. She was 88.
Born Jean Ripton in Buffalo, she graduated when she was 15 from Nardin Academy, where she was class president and salutatorian. She graduated with honors from D’Youville College in 1946. At Cornell University Law School, she was editor in chief of the Law Review and first in her class, graduating in 1949 and marrying Cornell Law classmate Bertil L. Peterson.
A longtime Hamburg resident, Mrs. Peterson enjoyed a lengthy career as an attorney in public service as counsel to Hamburg Industrial Development Agency, Hamburg town attorney, Eden town attorney and counsel to Erie County Court. For 27 years, she helped to prepare and grade the New York State Bar Examination.
She was an enthusiastic volunteer, serving as a trustee of D’Youville College, a member of the House of Delegates for the New York State Bar Association, a director and treasurer of the Erie County Bar Association, president of Hamburg Counseling Services and vice president of Neighborhood Legal Services. She also was president of Women Lawyers of Western New York.
She ran unsuccessfully for Erie County Legislature in 1975 and State Supreme Court in 1981. She served seven months as interim Hamburg town supervisor in 1983 following the death of the town’s first woman supervisor, Barbara C. Wicks.
Mrs. Peterson was named Woman of the Year by the Hamburg Business and Professional Woman’s Club and “Mrs. Republican” by the Hamburg Town Republican Club.
She was a lecturer and professor at D’Youville College and the former Rosary Hill College (now Daemen College) and at the University at Buffalo Medical School. She also was a longtime member of the Twentieth Century Club of Buffalo.
Her husband of 58 years, who was her law partner and served as Swedish consul of Western New York, died in 2007. Survivors include six sons, Marc, Craig, Brent, Bruce, Eric and Klayton; two daughters, Constance Bertucci and Karen; and 12 grandchildren. A memorial service will be private.