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Peggy (Spurr) Helgeson, age 94, passed away suddenly on April 9, 2013 in Pasadena, California. She was born in New London, Wisconsin on July 5, 1918, daughter of the late John and Gertrude (Mayo) Spurr. Her family had deep seated roots in the community, as her great-grandfather, Ira Millard, was one of the original founders of New London. After graduating from Washington High School in 1936, she took a six-week road trip from New London to southern California in a Model A Ford with her brother George, which she fondly remembered for the rest of her life. In southern California she attended Los Angeles City College and the Lipson School of Design and Commercial Arts. Following graduation from the Lipson School in 1940 she returned to New London where she married Elmer L. Helgeson. She was a very active member of the Wisconsin Republican Party, and the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, the New London Women's Club where she served as president, and the General Federation of Women's Clubs where she was elected seventh district president. Peggy also was a member of the Board of Directors of the New London Community Hospital and worked briefly as a reporter for the New London Press newspaper. In her early years she was also an accomplished pianist and a skilled fashion designer and seamstress creating unique outerwear and fanciful costumes for her sons.
After Elmer's death in 1983 she traveled extensively, visiting five continents. Peggy was an adventurer: she flew on the Concorde, sailed on the Queen Elizabeth 2, traversed the Inside Passage, and crossed Russia by rail. Later she became a "snow bird," enjoying summers in Wisconsin and winters in Arizona with her companion of eighteen years, Phil Carew. After Phil's death in 2010, she made her last and final sojourn to southern California where she spent her final years among friends and family.
Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, Elmer, and siblings George Spurr and Helen Spurr Magelssen. She is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law: Robert and Toni Helgeson of Surprise, Arizona, Richard Helgeson and Diana Mahmud of South Pasadena, California, and John and Gail Helgeson of New London, Wisconsin. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Joseph (Teresa), Emily, John, Marisa, Matthew, and Lindsey Helgeson Rossmeissl (Andrew), and a great-grandchild, Elsa.
Peggy was an avid reader and Packers fan, and enjoyed a good game of golf. We will always remember Peggy for her devotion to family and friends, her strength, independence, civic commitment, positive outlook, and love of wine, flowers, and travel. We would be blessed indeed to enjoy as long and well-lived a life as she.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 26, 2013 at the Cline and Hanson Funeral Home, 209 West Cook Street in New London. There will be a viewing before the service on the morning of April 26 from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the Cline and Hanson Funeral Home.
Donations in Peggy Helgeson's memory may be made to the Autism Research Institute, the Easter Seals Society or the
Cline and Hanson Funeral Home
209 West Cook Street New London, WI 54961
Published in Appleton Post-Crescent on Apr. 21, 2013