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Margaret "Peggy" Duffy

1930 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Margaret "Peggy" Duffy Obituary
Margaret "Peggy" Duffy

Margaret Mary "Peggy" Duffy, 86, of Ft. Pierre, died Wednesday, October 4 at Avera Maryhouse in Pierre. Visitation will be 4-5pm, Sunday, October 8 at St. John's Catholic Church in Ft. Pierre with a prayer service at 5:00pm. Services will be 11:00am, Monday, October 9 at St. John's Catholic Church in Ft. Pierre with burial at Scotty Philip Cemetery

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Isburg Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at

Margaret Mary Crowley was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1930, in New York City. She was the third of seven children born into her parents' boarding house. Growing up in an Irish boarding house on 47th Street in Queens during the Depression left an indelible mark on Peggy, as she was always known to her friends.

Peggy attended Public School 36 in Woodside and was a brilliant student. She paid her own way to attend St. Michael Academy in Manhattan, riding the train each day into the city. After graduation she worked at Bonwit Teller & Co. department store.

Peggy's parents were both immigrants and she was raised in New York City Irish culture. Peggy loved Irish music and earned extra cash as a young girl by jigging at neighborhood events and in local establishments. Peggy carried with her both a strong sense of her Irish heritage and a constant identity as a child of New York City.

Peggy graduated from Grace Institute Business School, then accepted a position with the New York Telephone Company as a business office representative, continuing her daily commute to Manhattan. Promotions came quickly during her six years with the phone company, but career ambitions were put on hold when she met a sailor at the USO in New York. Bernard Duffy was temporarily stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and was also Irish.

Bernie and Peggy were wed on December 31, 1955, at St. Teresa Catholic Church in Woodside, Queens. The newlyweds moved to Brookings, SD, while Bernie attended graduate school at South Dakota State. A city girl who had never driven a car, Peggy slowly adjusted to life on the prairie.

In 1957 the couple moved to Fort Pierre, where Bernie had accepted a teaching and coaching position at Fort Pierre High School. Having left one Irish boarding house behind, she found herself in another one as the couple moved into the Duffy House with Bernie's family and roomers. Into this house her first three children were born: Pat in 1956, Bernie, Jr. in 1958, and Dan in 1960. Peggy became active in the community and supported her husband's teaching and coaching career at every turn.

The family moved to the Superintendent's house across Bad River when Bernie was promoted to that position, and Peggy finally had her own home. Two daughters joined the family while living in the Superintendent's house: Dolly in 1961 and Kitty in 1965.

In 1967, Bernie enrolled at the University of South Dakota School of Law. The family moved to a small house on Cherry and later to Pine Street in Vermillion. In 1968, they became the dormitory parents at Julian Hall, where they lived for two years. Another son, John, was born in 1970 just as the family was preparing to return to Fort Pierre so that Bernie could start his own law practice.

Back in Fort Pierre the couple bought a small home on Main Street. Stanley County Schools again became the central institution of their lives. All six children graduated from Stanley County High School, and Peggy's life revolved around kids and their activities. She preached the value of education, and seeing all six of her children graduate from college was one of her proudest accomplishments.

Peggy eventually returned to the workforce as a substitute teacher, nighttime caregiver, then as a teacher's aide at the Pierre Indian Learning Center. She enjoyed her 20-some years at PILC and loved and understood the kids in a way that only a tough Queens girl could. She relished the times when a former student would see her around town and come running for a hug.

Peggy was a member of St. John's Catholic Church, the St. John's Altar Society, Catholic Daughters, St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary, and the Post 20 Auxiliary. In her free time she enjoyed celebrating her Irish heritage, playing cards, bargain shopping, reading, and gambling. Most of all, however, she enjoyed the experiences and accomplishments of her children and grandchildren. Peggy's life was challenging at times but devotion to her family carried her to ultimate joy.

Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, Bernard; one son, Patrick; a grandson, Jack Firman; her parents, Catherine Mary (Murphy) and Daniel Francis Crowley; sisters Joan and Kathleen; and brothers Daniel, Michael and James.

Peggy is survived by her children Bernard (Joan), Daniel (Karrie), Elizabeth "Dolly" (Dan Fangman), Catherine "Kitty" Firman (Rob), and John (Patti); daughter-in-law Veronica; sister Beatrice; 32 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces.
Published in The Argus Leader on Oct. 7, 2017
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