Margaret A. “Peg” (Cavanagh) Rice, 88, died unexpectedly in her home on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. The Empire State Building was not the only New York landmark to arrive in 1931. Peg was born the same year and, with her refined character, stood even taller. She was born on a warm spring day on April 22nd to Nora (Conroy) Cavanagh and Thomas Cavanagh in Garden City, Long Island, New York. Little “Peggy Ann”, their first born, was the apple of their eye.
Peg, a proud graduate of Garden City High School, began her career working on Park Avenue for one of the leading national Advertising Agencies, Kenyon & Eckhardt. This was a highlight of her young career as she basked in the hustle and bustle of the city. Peg was also employed as an Account Executive by Microfab, Amesbury, MA and Applied Circuits, Haverhill, MA before retiring.
Peg was in her early 20s when, on a blind date, this brown-eyed beauty met a handsome Irishman named Teddy Rice. They married shortly after but not before a whirlwind courtship brought them partying and dancing through the Jazz clubs of New York City.
Five children later, Peg became a faithful and supportive wife, and a caring and loving Mother. She had a silent strength, one that would guide her and steady her through life. Peg carried this strength with much elegance and grace. All that met her universally proclaimed that “Peg Rice was the epitome of a lady”.
Peg felt strongly about her civic duty. She was the President of the PTA for the Brown and Jackman schools in Newburyport where she started the first hot lunch program. Peg also served on the Boards of Turning Point and the League of Women Voters, taught Sunday school, and volunteered on many local mayoral campaigns.
She was a strong independent woman who loved her Irish heritage. Peg also loved being a native New Yorker and enjoyed telling everyone there was no better place in the world than New York City - “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere…” The avid New York Yankee fan gladly reminded her Massachusetts family and friends about her team’s 27 World Series rings.
Peg had a warm and caring spirit. She would constantly think of others and so enjoyed giving presents to people. You knew she was always the smartest person in the room because she never had to cheat at the New York Times crossword puzzle. One did not win often when playing the “Queen of Scrabble” but were gladly given free vocabulary lessons. She showed us how to treat and accept everyone equally. Peg reminded us to “never even your wit” and “always double-check your work.”
No one would win more than Peg at Friday night Keno. A week ago, on her last play, she hit $450 on a $2 bet. Get your payouts ready “heaven keno”, Peg Rice is on her way!
Music always beat in Peg’s heart. Although she appreciated all genres, traditional Irish and the big band music of the 40s and 50s were her favorites. She turned the volume up whenever “Porgy & Bess” and “Rhapsody in Blue” came on the radio.
We will miss her world-renowned spaghetti and meatballs, we will miss playing word games with her, we will miss her laugh, we will miss her twinkling eyes, we will miss everything about her – she was our New York City gal, she was our Hero. Let our hearts smile for her. We love you Peg!
Peg’s friends meant the world to her but her family was her life. Her children Teddy Rice (Gail) Amesbury, MA; Noreen (Rice) Dieter (Tom) Loveland, CO; Susie Rice (Lisa) Salt Lake City, UT; Meg Rice Newburyport, MA; Beth Rice (Teri) Newburyport, MA; Grandson Jesse Dieter (Mariah); great-grandchildren Orion Dieter and Erika Dieter Sanford, NC; sister Joan DiBella (Frank) West Union, SC; nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends will greatly miss her but will remember and rejoice that our beautiful Peg graced their lives.
Peg will be warmly welcomed by those loved ones who went before her. Her parents, Nora and Tom Cavanagh; her husband and one-true love, Teddy Rice; her wonderful grandson, TC Dieter; little sisters, Renee Schocket and Pat Hargreaves; dear friend, Don Schocket; nephew, Donald Paul (DP) Schocket; great-niece, Becca Weissbard; mother-in-law, Peggy Hughes.
There will be a grand celebration of Peg’s life at a later date.
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