Peggy Florence Elizabeth Huber died peacefully in her home at 100 years and 6 months of age, on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. She was surrounded by family and friends.|
She was born Florence Elizabeth Schaeffer, on Sept. 9, 1912, in Wilmington, Del. Her mother, Ethel Broadbent Schaeffer, and father, John, already had a son, Robert B. Schaeffer, then 2 years old. John Schaeffer died suddenly when Peggy was 6 years old. Her uncle moved in with them and helped support the family; he gave her the nickname "Peggy." She was skinny and just kept going, so the name "Peg" stuck.
They lived in Florida, and Peggy had to quit high school to help support the family. Peggy was able to return to Fordson High School in Dearborn, Mich., and graduate, after her mother remarried. Peggy was a Girl Scout and traveled to Ontario, Canada, on many exchange trips with the Girl Scouts.
Peggy lived a life of modest service with a strong work ethic. She did not believe her story was of particular interest to anyone else, and yet her story created a strong, resourceful, patriotic and humble servant to the community she lived in. Fairbanks is a better place because of her commitment to doing her part.
She survived heartache, the Great Depression, World War II the loss of many loved ones before her, and thankfully shared her knowledge and goodwill with those who knew her.
After high school, Peggy graduated from Wayne University and Grace Hospital Nursing School in Detroit, Mich., in 1938. She then worked for Michigan Bell Telephone, Co. as an "industrial nurse" for the employees.
When WWII began, Peggy enlisted. It took her three attempts to get into the Army because she didn't weigh enough. Finally, she almost made the 100 pounds, and a kind recruiter let her in.
Peggy served from 1942 untill 1948 in the Army Nurse Corp. She was in Naples and Ceserta Italy, North Africa, and Luzon and Bantangas, Philippines. She received the WWII Victory Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific, European-African, and Middle-Eastern medals; two with battle stars. At the completion of her service, Peggy was a lieutenant. She remained in the reserves until the 1960s.
After the war, Peggy went back to school and got her bachelor's degree in nursing, and a masters in education from Columbia Teachers College. She worked at the Forest Glen Section of Walter Reed Hospital, D.C.
She then took a job in Denver, as director of nursing at one of the hospitals. This is where she met Charles Russell Huber.
On Aug. 5, 1953, Peggy married Russ Huber. They drove to Fairbanks, saying they would only be there six months. But 60 years later, Peggy still lived in the same house. Peggy loved her new family, with grown sons and wives, and loved visiting her grandchildren throughout the U.S.
Peggy continued to foster the ideals of democracy and love of country in young people through her work in Fairbanks. Peggy was a school nurse at Nordale, Denali, Main School and Lathrop High School until 1965, also teaching second grade for two years when the district needed more teachers. Peggy began a future nurses club at Lathrop High School.
Her husband, Russ, had taught at UAF, then after WWII, at Main School, and Lathrop High School, and had retired earlier. Both continued to support the ROTC Program in the state of Alaska, which Russ had initiated in 1930 at UAF.
Peggy was a member of the Dorman H. Baker Unit No. 11 from 1953 until her passing. With her husband she also began and supported Boys and Girls State (with the help of Dr. Wood at UAF) to teach youths about the U.S. political system, patriotism and to build strong, independent, and capable youth.
Peggy continued to give out the American Legion award to outstanding sixth-graders at all the elementary schools until her 95th year. She also led the Oratorical Contest for the Legion, acting as chaperone to teenagers, into her 90s. Peggy was one of the first women accepted into the American Legion and was more than active as state secretary, and co-vice commander with her husband, member of Eastern Star, Rainbow Girls, The American Legion Auxiliary, Retired Teachers Association, Board of the Farthest North Girl Scout Council, and the Presbyterian Church. They were able to travel around the world after retirement, and a safari in Africa left Peggy with a love of elephants.
After Russ died in 1983, Peggy set up two Engineering and ROTC scholarships in his name at UAF. She continued to serve in many organizations, travel and take classes at the university whenever she could. She kept up with the 12 grandchildren and many of the 12 great-grandchildren who came along.
Peggy is survived by her daughter-in-laws, Joan Huber, Connie Huber, and Inger Huber; eleven of her grandchildren, Wendy Huber, Tim Huber, Ron Huber, Merrie Tullar (Bruce), Marian Huber (Glen), Ken Huber (Sandy), Dan Huber (Shanti), Karen Grubbs (Kim), Curt Huber (Beth) and Craig Huber (Sheila) and 12 great-grandchildren. She will be laid to rest, with a full color guard, at 2 p.m. on Flag Day, Friday, June 14, 2013, at The Northern Lights Mortuary & Memorial Park.
All who knew Peggy and wish to pay their respects, are welcome to attend.
Memorial Contributions can be made to the C. Russell Huber Engineering and/or ROTC scholarships at UAF. Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on June 9, 2013