Margaret M. “Peggy” O’Connell, 97, died peacefully at her home in Forest Park on December 13, 2020. She was the only child of Mae and Jim, immigrants from Listowel, a small town in the west of Ireland. Her dear Aunt Hannah was like a second mother to her. From her family, Peggy learned to deeply love language. It was a joy to hear her recite favorite poems and quote her Aunt Han’s wise sayings – always appropriate, whether in English or Gaelic.
When Peggy was only two, she and her mother made a rare trip back to visit family in the old country. After Mass one Sunday, Peggy decided it was only polite to declare “Bye bye, baby God!” – after all, she had just been in His house. “Listen to the Yankee babe!” the bemused churchgoers remarked.
True to her Irish heritage, Peggy and her family spent many happy hours at the horse races at Arlington. Once, the gangster Bugs Moran gave his box seats to Peggy and her mother.
After graduating from Trinity High School in River Forest and completing a secretarial program at DePaul University, Peggy became a dedicated and highly valued employee of Chicago Rivet for 49 years. She rose through the ranks to become an officer of the company.
Soon after Peggy retired, she volunteered to work in the English Department office at Triton College in River Grove. She spent nine fulfilling years there. Peggy was also an enthusiastic participant in the senior travel adventures offered by Forest Park’s Howard Mohr Community Center. In a world where many long for certainty, she was always up for a mystery trip!
Peggy was a member of St. Bernadine Catholic Church in Forest Park and the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.
Peggy was preceded in death by her parents; her Aunt Hannah (Kissane); and various cousins, including Peggy’s traveling companion Ann McGinnis, and Mary Jo Fowler. She is survived by her cousins Dan (Valerie) Ursini of Oak Park, IL; Sandy (Dan) Henson, Katie (Steve) Johnson, Dan Henson, Michael (Mary Beth) Ursini, Jerry Ursini, and Sarah (Levi Wier) Ursini of Ottawa, IL; Nora (Mike Rice) Rice of Sycamore, IL and son Owen; and Jenny Ursini of Santa Margarita, CA.
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