Rachel Marie (Peterson) Maples, 31, of Newport, Tennessee, formerly of Mt. Morris, and her husband, James Allen Maples, 53, of Newport, Tennessee, passed away on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 from injuries they received in a motorcycle accident near their home in Tennessee.
Rachel was born on Jan. 14, 1988 at Rockford Memorial Hospital to Monti and Jeanette (Hinton) Peterson. She joined big sister, Lindsey, brother Brian, and their cat Pudder, at home.
She was a 2007 graduate of Oregon High School and worked in park maintenance at White Pines State Park and at the Oregon Park District’s Nash Recreation Center. She earned her scuba diving certificate in 2006.
Rachel took tremendous pride in keeping the “Pines” trimmed, mowed, and good looking for locals as well as visitors.
She enjoyed working summers with her park “buddies” to make sure the state park, located across the road from her childhood home, met her high standards of presentation and was a good place to live for all the native critters she enjoyed seeing almost every day during her rounds.
She loved saving wayward and struggling plants often moving them to appropriate places and giving them the extra care they needed to make sure they flourished.
In addition to her janitorial duties at the Nash Recreation Center, Rachel loved dressing up for themed events and using her artistic skills as a face painter for young participants.
She also used those same artistic skills to help her Mom create colorful and unique baked goods and candy for friends and family.
She often helped her Dad in assisting him with his mechanical-related tasks. She was a willing chauffeur for her Grandma Ida.
She volunteered for the Autumn on Parade festival since the age of 12, starting out helping set up and tear down prior to and after the festival, then supervising pick up and transport of garbage during the festival, and ultimately lending a hand in any other areas where she could help including crowd control.
Every year she delighted in shopping for those extra special Christmas and birthday gifts for family and friends and diving into Black Friday sales with her sister, Lindsey.
She married James Allen Maples of Newport, Tennessee, on May 7, 2019, and moved to her new home in the scenic foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
He is survived by his three sons, Joshua (Tabitha) Maples, North Carolina, Caylais Maples, Seattle, Washington, Jairus Maples, Nashville, Tennessee; three grandchildren; and his loyal dog, Sugar.
She is survived by her parents, Monti and Jeanette Peterson, of Mt. Morris; sister, Lindsey (Tim) Breeden, of Oregon; brother, Brian (Molly) Peterson, of Slaughter, Louisiana; grandmother, Ida Hinton, of Mt. Morris; nephews and fishing, mini-putt buddies, Timmy and Mason Breeden, of Oregon; niece, Whitney, of Slaughter, Louisiana; aunts and uncles, Dixie Hinton and John Werschey, of Oregon, Earleen Hinton and Terry Thomas, of Grand Detour, Linda and Rod Peterson, of Mt. Morris, Scott and Maria Peterson, of Belvidere, Mark and Camery Peterson, of Mt. Morris, Christine Albert, of Brodhead, Wisconsin, and Gail and Dan Bloom, of Country Club, Missouri; cousins, Jacob Werschey of Honolulu, Hawaii, Lucas (Danielle) Peterson, of Leaf River, Joy and (Tom) Houlihan, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Amy and (Brian) Viner, South Carolina, Ross Bloom, Nebraska, Emmett Peterson, of Mt. Morris, and Kaylyn Albert, of Wisconsin; friend Marsha Breeden, of Chana; cats, Sven and Frostbite; and her Tennessee pup, Wonder.
She was predeceased by paternal grandparents, June and Charlie Peterson; maternal grandfather, Earl Hinton; cousin, Karshan Peterson-Lettig; uncle, Jim Albert; and aunt, Mindy Peterson.
While our hearts are breaking as we contemplate life without Rachel’s smile, sincere generosity, empathy and humor, and helping hands, we take solace in knowing she is already helping all the dogs, cats, birds, mice, frogs, toads, bunnies, fish, spiders, dragonflies, and all other living creatures return home as they cross over.
Joint services were held for Rachel and Allen in Newport, Tennessee, on Sept. 4.
A memorial service will also be held on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Oregon Church of God, 860 W. Oregon Trail Rd., Oregon, Illinois.
Visitation will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with a service and Celebration of Life to follow.
Memorials for her family can be sent to her sister Lindsey Breeden, 203 N. Seventh St., Oregon IL 61061.