Peggy Anne Lewis
June 25 1936 - November 15, 2017
On June 25 1936, Peggy Anne Maness was born at home on the Meeker, Oklahoma family farm. As an infant, Peggy moved across the country with her parents Charlie and Ethel, older brothers Charles and Don with a handful of extended relatives to new jobs in the San Joaquin Valley.
The family settled in the city of Visalia, which Peggy always considered her home town. Peggy became an older sister when Rosemary and later Darlene were born. They were a close knit trio as only sisters can be which continued all throughout their lives.
Growing up on a small dairy farm in rural Visalia was an active and enjoyable life centered around family with numerous extended family close by. Many afternoons were spent together at family homes, Mooney Grove, or Cutler Park. Delicious foods, homemade ice cream and laughter were highlights of these many gatherings which often served no other purpose but to spend time together.
Young Peggy was active in Tulare County 4-H. She had fond memories of attending camp at Whitakers Forest and enjoyed numerous projects. Her 4-H experiences carried over into adulthood as she encouraged her own children into 4-H programs for numerous years.
Peggy attended local Visalia schools including Linwood Elementary. She was in the 1953 Visalia Senior High School graduating class with her life-long best friend Catherine Smith and her cousin Cora Smith. Peggy began working for a local eye doctor, Dr. Max Goldstein, after graduating with her Associates Degree from College of the Sequoias in 1955. She enjoyed her work, finding it interesting and fulfilling and she was every bit the professional in her crisp white uniform.
Peggy married James Lewis on September 17, 1960. She said she had loved him from the first time she had seen him in 1948. A one-sided romance all thru high school and College of the Sequoias, it wasn't until Jim returned from his two years in the Army that Peggy invited him to her dance recital at the Arthur Murray School. “Fascination” played, dinner ensued and the rest is history.
As newlyweds Peggy and Jim lived in San Luis Obispo while Jim finished his engineering degree at Cal Poly. Peggy had saved enough money from her job to support the two of them for the year. She also expertly typed Jim's papers acting as editor. In the end, Jim got his Bachelor of Science in Engineering, while Peggy was granted her own PHT (Pushing Hubby Through) degree presented by the President of Cal Poly as one of the many supportive wives of her generation.
After graduation, Peggy & Jim moved to Southern California for Jim's job at Ralston Purina. While living in Pasadena in 1962 Deborah Ann was born and sister Carolyn Darlene soon followed in 1965. Frequent trips to visit family in Visalia made moving back there all the more desirable. In 1968 Jim was lucky enough to get an engineering job in the Central Valley and the Lewis family moved once more to Hanford. In 1969 Peggy gave birth to son Michael David completing their branch of the family tree.
Peggy made a welcoming home and was a loving mother for her children. Her instinctive nurturing nature made her well suited for motherhood, as her mother before her. She did not shy away from giving discipline when necessary, but mostly used kindness and love to motivate her children. Her children recall delicious meals, neatly pressed shirts, encouragement with homework and freedom to do the things that made them happy. Meals were always homemade and dinners were together as a family.
Peggy was an avid letter writer and journal keeper. She corresponded often and in detail with relatives and friends near and far. Her children have kept most of her letters to them throughout the years, which are now precious links to the past. In her journals one can find much of the family happenings and history, such as births, weddings, and graduations.
Peggy was active in her community – serving on the school site council, volunteering for children with disabilities, being a 4-H mom, a member of the Rebekah Lodge and participating in many church activities. Peggy loved to follow American politics. She served on her local election board for the better part of 20 years because she felt voting should be encouraged and democracy was the only way for the country to move forward.
Deborah was married in 1987 to Mark Siverly and Peggy was happy to have another sports fan in the family. She was excited to be a grandmother. Blessed twice when Deborah gave birth to David James in 1990 and Benjamin George in 1992. Peggy doted on them. Wherever the grandsons lived, she and Jim traveled to visit for birthdays, holidays, sports and special events. Peggy made ordinary times special for them and started many traditions which are carried on today.
When Jim retired in 1996, Peggy and he traveled with family and enjoyed visits to see their children and grandchildren. Life changed in 2006 when Jim's would-be fatal heart attack left him memory impaired. Peggy upheld her wedding vows and for the next eleven years lovingly cared for Jim. Though the traveling and activities slowed down, they still had many fun times with family and friends and shared their love with each other.
After fifty-seven years of marriage, Jim passed away unexpectedly on October 12, 2017. Peggy's health had declined at that same time and just over one month later Peggy passed away with her children and sisters at her bedside on November 15, 2017.
Peggy is survived by her children, Deborah Siverly and husband Mark of Visalia, Carolyn Lewis of Pasadena, Michael Lewis of Pasadena; grandsons David Siverly and fiancée Brittney of Fresno, Benjamin Siverly and wife Megan of Denver CO; brother Don Maness and wife Helen of Visalia, sisters Rosemary Ward and husband Bob of Exeter and Darlene Butchko and husband Pete of Okemos, MI, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral Services will be Monday, November 27, 2017 at 10:30 am in the Miller Memorial Chapel in Visalia. A luncheon in Peggy's honor will be held immediately following at the Neighborhood Church 5505 W. Riggin, Visalia, CA.
In this season of Thanksgiving, Peggy's family truly appreciates all of the loving gestures, food and prayers which have been provided by family and friends. In lieu of flowers, Peggy wished for any remembrances to be sent to the Burn Center at Fresno Community Medical Center.
Tributes and condolences may be made at www.millerchapel.com.
Arrangements entrusted to Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia, CA (559) 732-8371.