Friends, family remember child-care director Linda Peterson
SALISBURY — Kiddie Land child care center seemed to have a revolving door of friends and family stopping in to share prayers and condolences Tuesday, a day after the center’s director Linda Peterson died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.
Peterson, who helped run the Long Street day care for more than 14 years, was taken to the hospital Saturday, friends said. She was airlifted to Duke University Medical Center Sunday and died Monday afternoon. She was 52.
“It’s shocking,” her son Trevon Floyd Peterson said Tuesday. “I can’t believe it’s going on. It’s a day after she passed — I’m stepping foot back into the day care center. She touched so many people.”
Linda Peterson helped take her mother’s day care to new heights in 1999 when they moved from a temporary building to the Long Street address on the East Spencer line. Following her mother, Rosa Wood’s, death in 2005, Peterson continued improving the day care until it reached five-star qualification.
“We want to make sure in spite of her death we still uphold the example that she set for us, not only as a family, but as a team in the center to love the children, to take care of them and keep teaching,” Trevon Peterson said.
Linda Peterson had several relatives who worked with her at Kiddie Land, including her son, daughter Timika and sister-in-law Melody Wood.
Tears were shed at work Tuesday as coworkers fondly recalled memories of Peterson, but Wood said employees were focused on doing what Peterson would have wanted.
“It’s been sad, but we just keep it in mind that we’re just doing what she would want, which is carrying on,” Wood said, “just to carry on and to do our job and to watch over her babies.”
Peterson began feeling ill Saturday, Wood said. After she was admitted to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center doctors decided to transfer Peterson to Duke.
“I was on my way to Duke yesterday,” Wood said. “I didn’t make it in time.”
Peterson’s death stunned others at the day care like Iler Davis.
Davis, a partially retired woman who works about three hours a day for the center, said she’s been with Peterson at the business for 12 years.
Davis said she spoke to relatives Sunday who said Peterson’s condition hadn’t changed.
But coworkers phoned her the next day with the news.
“It was devastating for me,” Davis said. “I was not expecting that, but I know God don’t make no mistakes.”
Davis said Peterson kept her employees’ lives in mind and often worked around young families’ schedules.
“She was always considerate,” she said. “She worked hard to try to live up to the legacy of her mother.”
Others, like Dorothy Heggins, also dropped by the business to pay their respects.
Heggins retired in February, but worked with Peterson and her mother since they began at the new location in 1999.
“She was just a person that gave herself to others,” Heggins said. “She was a happy-go-lucky lady — a song bird.”
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.