Peggy Xeria Martin Egan
Published 5:46 pm Monday, November 20, 2017
Peggy Xeria Martin Egan of Smithfield passed away Sunday, Nov, 19, 2017. Born in 1929 and raised in Pass Christian, Miss., she was completely devoted to her family and her Christian faith. She shared with her husband, William John Egan (Bill), of 62 years their lifelong love of sailing adventures, hard work, animals, music and writing. Peggy’s motto and the title of one of her writings was “Never Lose Your Romance with Life.”
Known to her friends as Peggy, she is survived by three children: Bill Jr. and his wife Betsy; Michael and Connie; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Egan, William Egan III and Cody James Egan; two great grandsons, Noah and Liam; a great granddaughter, Thalia; several nieces and nephews, especially her beloved niece, Donna Levine. Peggy is dearly missed.
Peggy met her husband in “The Pass” after WWII. Their love of music, singing and dancing, and their shared ethics of strong family values and respect for people, soon had them tying the knot that held fast for 62 years. When Bill Jr. was born, Bill Sr. used the GI Bill to enroll at the University of Mississippi at Oxford and Peggy worked at the telephone company to support the family’s financial needs. Following Bill’s graduation in 1953, the family moved to Baton Rouge, La. where Bill worked as a civil/structural engineer for Ethyl Corporation and Peggy continued her employment with the telephone company until she had her daughter Connie and her other son, Michael. Peggy satisfied her passion for continuous learning by taking classes at LSU.
Bill and Peggy’s love of the Gulf coast led to a “vacation” home in Bay St Louis where the family first built and then bought boats, and also self constructed two houses on and near Bay St Louis, Miss. All of these passions were done on the weekends as the family lived, went to school and worked in Baton Rouge. Peggy survived a serious radical mastectomy operation in 1967. Peggy credited her survival to a “decision” she made to live, in spite of the prevailing medical prognosis/opinion provided to her. And live she did!
The family moved to Carthage Tenn. in 1968 where Bill managed the construction of a new aluminum extrusion plant that Ethyl Corporation was building. While in Carthage, Peggy was active in the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, PTA, Girl Scouts, church and music programs.
The family then moved to Newnan, Ga. in 1970 where Ethyl Corporation was also expanding a large aluminum plant. When landlocked in Newnan, the family substituted the pastoral life for seagoing adventures. Peggy became the matriarch of a 27-acre farm, Whispering Pines, in Newnan. The land was transformed by the family from a pine thicket to an upscale horse ranch/farm. Peggy could be seen leading a content parade of escaped pets (cows, horses, bull) along the country road back to their pens.
Upon Bill’s retirement from Ethyl in 1978, Bill and Peggy sold or stored all of their belongings and sailed away; they lived on board a 38-foot Island Trader sailboat for a year. Peggy and Bill eventually ended up in Pensacola, Fla. where they continued their romance with the sea and sailboats until Bill’s death in 2007. Following Bill’s death, Peggy moved to Smithfield, which she acclaimed as being “an absolutely amazing town with wonderful people.” She sowed seeds of joyfulness and made many friends.
A service celebrating Peggy’s life will be held Saturday, Nov. 25, 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, Smithfield, with the Rev. Connie W. Gilman and the Rev. Bob Gilman officiating. A reception will follow after the service in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be made in her memory to Christ Episcopal Church, 111 S. Church St., Smithfield, VA 23430, or Sentara Hospice House, Sentara Hospice Fund, www.sentara.com/foundation.
Arrangements are by Colonial Funeral Home, 14214 Carrollton Blvd. Carrollton. Family and friends may share condolences and remembrances at www.colonialfuneralhomesmithfield.com.