Cover photo for Kimiko Yamada Petersen's Obituary
Kimiko Yamada Petersen Profile Photo
1931 Kimiko 2024

Kimiko Yamada Petersen

December 15, 1931 — February 27, 2024


Kimiko Petersen, 92, of Holland, Michigan, and formerly of Richland, Michigan, died on February 27, 2024 at Freedom Village in Holland, Michigan.

Kimiko was born on December 15, 1931 in Taiwan to Komaichi and Tamiko Yamada and moved to Osaka Japan in her pre-teen years. When she was in her 20s, she moved to America and enrolled in cosmetology school in Battle Creek. After working several years as a cosmetologist, she opened her own salon and named it Kim’s. Then, in her mid-40s, she made her first serious paint stroke which ultimately led to her becoming an award-winning, prominent female artist.

Coming from an artistic family, Kimiko loved art, but showed no signs of carrying the artistic gene. With encouragement from her father and an art class at Kellogg Community College, her talent emerged.

Today, Kimiko’s paintings are part of many private and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad. Highlights of her career include winning the “Best of Show” award in the 2003 Michigan Artists Competition at the Art Center of Battle Creek. In 2004 she received the “Best Watercolor” award in a competition hosted by the First Congregational Church of Battle Creek. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, her paintings were accepted into the prestigious International Society of Experimental Artists (ISEA) exhibitions. This three-year ISEA run earned Petersen prestigious title membership in the group.

In 2009 and in 2022 her diverse collection of collages, mixed media and watercolor paintings were on exhibit in the Devries Gallery in the Davidson Building. Three of her pieces are now part of the College’s permanent art collection.  

In 2007, Kimiko and her husband, Sherman, worked with the KCC Foundation to establish the Kimiko Petersen Fine Art Awards. Due to their generosity, cash prizes are awarded annually to KCC art students as the culmination of the College’s juried Student Art Exhibition held each spring. 

Sherman and Kimiko also established the Petersen Promise Fund at South Dakota Community Foundation, to provide college financial support to graduates of Irene/Wakonda High School.

She and her husband enjoyed traveling and vacationing abroad. Because of Sherman’s interest in history, they visited all 50 states. 

Kimiko was united in marriage to Sherman Petersen on July 18, 1976 in Battle Creek. He preceded her in death on November 16, 2021. She was also preceded in death by her parents and brothers. She leaves behind many caring friends.

A memorial service to celebrate Kimiko’s life will be held Monday, March 11, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Personal messages and memories may be shared at

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, March 11, 2024

3:00 - 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

Fort Custer National Cemetery

15501 W Dickman Rd, Augusta, MI 49012

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