Obituary: Onabelle “Onie” Mae Pehrson, 96, Ludington

October 23, 2019

Onabelle “Onie” Mae Pehrson

Obituary: Onabelle “Onie” Mae Pehrson, 96, Ludington

Onabelle “Onie” Mae Pehrson, 96, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 21, 2019 at Oakview Medical Care Facility where she had resided for the last two years.  Onie was born on May 17, 1923 in Ludington to Claude and Matilda Rathbun. She grew up in Ludington graduating from Ludington High School with the class of 1941. At the age of 20, Onie traveled alone by train from Ludington to Riverside, California to marry Edward “Eddie” Pehrson, on November 1, 1943, before he was deployed to Europe during World War II.  They were married for over 64 years until Eddie passed away in 2008.  

Onie was preceded in death by her four siblings and their spouses, Stewart (Velma), Shirley (Marcella) and Robert (Betty) Rathbun and Dorothy (Roy) Anderson.  She was also preceded by her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Richard (Marge) Pehrson, Katherine (Swede) Swanson and Donald Pehrson.

Onie worked at the Lyric Theater in Ludington during and after high school.  Onie and Eddie operated two restaurants in Ludington when he returned from the service.  A small restaurant near the corner of Dowland Street and Washington Avenue, and later Pehrson’s Soda Bar in downtown Ludington.  Onie later worked as a waitress at The Swedish Coffee Pot and as manager/bartender at the Elks Lodge in Ludington. She ended her working career as the bookkeeper at The Market Basket, retiring in 1985.  

When Onie was a young child her uncle was the Lighthouse keeper at Big Sauble Point Lighthouse.  She spent time each summer for a few years at the lighthouse and enjoyed telling stories of her summer adventures traveling to the lighthouse and staying there.  Onie was an avid bowler and bowled on the Ludington Recreation Ladies A league for over 50 years. She liked to cook and bake and loved spoiling her grandchildren with homemade French fries and other goodies.  Christmas was a time of great joy at Onie’s house!

Onie will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her four children:  Drew (Carol) Pehrson and Margo (Michael) Keogh of Ludington, David (Jeannette) Pehrson of Scottville, and Pamela (Robert) Freese of Windsor, Colorado.

She is also survived by eight grandchildren:  Chelsea (Brett) Hitchcock, Hilary Pehrson and Mallory (Sean) Gordon all of Denver, Colorado, Mariel (Justin) Kelley of San Francisco, California, Eric Pehrson of Grand Rapids, Brian (Alisa) Pehrson of Westpoint, New York., and Mathew Freese and Christopher Freese of Windsor, Colorado. 

Onie was also blessed with seven great grandchildren:  Jakob Smith, Jaydann Pehrson, Ava Pehrson, Paityn Freese, Madilynn Freese, Alayna Cobarrubias, and Parker Drew Hitchcock.

The family would like to thank the staff at Oakview Medical Care Facility and Sutter Living Center for the loving care they provided Onie over the past two years.

Funeral services for Onabelle Pehrson will held at Oak Grove Funeral Home on Monday, October 28 at 11 a.m.  Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, a contribution to Sutter Living Center or the Sauble Point Lighthouse Keepers Association.

Please share your fond memories of Onie at

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington. 



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