Hazel M. (Peggy) Tarala
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January 29, 1928 – December 22, 2012
Peggy was born Hazel Margaret to Peter and Florence Fisher in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. While christened Hazel, she preferred to be called Peggy. She attended Rosthern public school through grade 12. A music lover, she was the organist for her Sunday school from 1940 - 1945 and was also a choir member at St. Paul's Evangelical Church in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Following grade and high school she attended Normal School in Saskatchewan and received her teaching certificate in 1946. Her first teaching job was in Waldheim, Saskatchewan teaching first and second grade. She also taught grades 1-3 in Radisson, another small Saskatchewan farming community. In 1946 she met the love of her life and future spouse of 46 years, Harold "Hal" Tarala. After a two-year engagement they were married in 1949. Hal was a professional hockey player and was signed to play in the United States for the Kansas City Play-Mors. The move to the U.S. ended Peggy's teaching career, but her career as a mother was just beginning. In 1950, twins Jim and Sherryl were born to a surprised Peggy and Hal, who expected only one bundle of joy! During Hal's hockey career they lived in a succession of cities in both Canada and the U.S., including Syracuse, NY, Vancouver, B.C. and Portland, Oregon, as well as Kansas City. With the birth of their daughter Cindy in 1959, their nomadic lifestyle ended. They settled in Portland, Oregon where Peggy became a "domestic engineer". On January 20, 1966 she and Hal became U.S. citizens, one of the proudest days in their lives. Always interested in the healthcare field, Peggy returned to school in 1968 and after two years received an Associate Degree and worked as a hospital X-ray Technician, Pediatric Medical Assistant and finally a Claims Analyst for Blue Cross of Oregon. She and Hal retired in 1990 and moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1994, where they never tired of waking up to "another day in paradise". Following Hal's death in 1995, Peggy lived a fiercely independent lifestyle in Mesa. She immersed herself in golf, volunteer work, the arts and card games with friends. She was an avid reader and astute investor, frequently giving her children and grandchildren investment advice. Always the most informed political conversationalist in the group, she was proudly progressive. As a sports fan she closely followed hockey and numerous other sports including the fortunes of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Coyotes. One of her favorite weekend activities was watching and cheering for the Oregon State Beaver football team with her family. Peggy passed away with her family at her side during her sudden but brief illness and never lost her sense of humor. Peggy is survived by her sister Maxine McDonald of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, son Jim Tarala and daughters Sherryl Reser and Cindy Griffith, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Peggy will be reunited by interment with her husband in Portland, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations be made to Hospice of the Valley Mesa Arizona. A celebration of Peggy's life will be held at a date yet to be determined.
Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Jan. 2, 2013