Peggy Joan Nutsch Pierce was born to Henry and Alta (McCollum) Nutsch east of Haddam, Kans., July 8, 1936 and died Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at her home in Narka, Kans. at the age of 80 years.
She was raised on a farm near Haddam and attended the Blocker Country School until she went to high school in Haddam, Ks and graduated in the 1952- 1953 school year.
She married Cecil Pierce May 24, 1953 in Fairbury, Nebr Four Square church in a private ceromony with only the parents in attendance., at the young age of 16. Together they raised nine children.
The couple farmed in the Reynolds, Hubbell, and Narka areas.
In 1956 they had one of the best crops dreamed of and what the hail didn't get the grasshoppers did. They were devastated and not sure what to do. Peggy's brother Jack was working in Oregon and told them there was plenty of work there, so the couple packed up their belongings with their two children, Charline, and Jeff and went to Oregon that September where Cecil found work as a welders helper working on ships in the Portland area. They rented an apartment in St. Helens. Peggy gave birth to a daughter, Susan, in December of that year. In March they moved back to Nebraska having saved enough to plant their crops the following year.
In 1965 they moved to Byron, Nebraska where they built and owned the Pierce's tavern. They lived here for seven years when they moved to Mankato, Kans. where they first owned the Dreamliner motel and later built and owned the Hideaway Supper Club which was the first private club in Jewell County.
In 1979 they moved to Jenkins, Mo. where she continued to work with her crafts and ceramics. She made some of the most beautiful porcelain dolls, to which she left to her grandchildren.
In 1983 the couple returned to Narka Kansas, and they operated a grocery store and restaurant for nearly 20 years.
She attended craft shows and was a Certified Bob Ross Instructor teaching classes at the Fairbury community college and Hobby Lobby.
She also operated a dog kennel business for over 30 years and it was one of her greatest joys. She was a lover of nature and animals and gave great attention and care to her garden. She could easily recognize every tree an plant and call it by name, and could imitate the song of every bird with her whistle.
She was an avid quilter and left each of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren a handmade quilt made with love and attention. Peggy could put more into one day than most people in a month. I have never known anyone who accomplished more in their lifetime than she. When her children were growing up she made most all of their clothes with her impeccable sewing skills.
Peggy was a fun loving character, quick witted and generally got the last word. She loved to read and had a huge library to prove it. She never said no to buying books for her children. She believe that if you knew how to read you could do anything and so it was she taught her children well.
She was preceded in death by her parents Henry and Alta Nutsch, three brothers, Jack, Lonnie, and Ernest Nutsch, a sister Rosa Nutsch, husband Cecil in 2015, and oldest daughter Charline Snyder, in 2004, and granddaughter Jessica Alcorn in 1975, daughter in laws Cathy Pierce, and Shelia Shoemaker.
She is survived by her children, sons, Jeff (Erlina), Henry (Kim), Clifford (Beverly), and Matt (Linda) Pierce; daughters Susan Holmes, Angelia "Gilly" (Roger) Reiter, Andrea (Thomas) Held, and Beth (Michal) Svoboda; 28 grandchildren; 50 great granchildren; sisters; Edith Meyer, and Pamela (Ken) Hoge, and brother Melvin "Ike" (Sonja) Nutsch.
Memorial services were held Wednesday, April 19 at the Presbyterian Church in Narka. Family internment in National Cemetery south of Narka. Memorials to the Narka Fire Department. Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home, Belleville, in charge of these arrangements.
Written by myself, Susan Pierce
The events of Wednesday, April 12, 2017 are forever etched in my mind and have left visions that will haunt me to the Grave. It's the day my mother was gone from us forever.
It started out as just and ordinary day. The skies were overcast and there was a mist in the air making it for a dreary lazy morning. I had spent the weekend before shearing dogs for Momma and Tuesday was the first nice day of spring that sent almost everyone in town out to do their first mowing of the season and yard clean up. I myself had spent most of the day mowing and as I finished the last yard, I sit on the mower and had a cigarette and contemplated going to check on Mom and see if she had anything that she wanted mowed up while I had the mower out, but I was tired, and I still needed to tend to my horse so decided to wait. It was almost 5 and I wouldn't have time to do much anyway.
I took the lawnmower to the horse pen and did a little mowing around the area and tended the horse when I noticed that my sister ,Beth, across the street, was having a drink in the shed so I stopped by to have a drink with her. It was not often I did this, but we had a few drinks and I enjoyed the company for a bit. It was about 7 when I got back to the house, I was tired and took a minute to have a bite to eat, jumped in the shower, and went straight to bed.
Wednesday morning I was tired and sore from the weekend and previous day of working in the yard so I was taking it easy and being lazy lounging in my recliner. I wasn't even dressed yet at 11 o'clock when the phone rang. It was my sister Gilly who lives in Jewell about 75 miles away. She asked if I knew if Mom was home. She had made plans with Mom the previous morning to go on a shopping spree and had sent her a text that evening but got no reply. When she tried to call her that morning the phone wasn't working. I told her I didn't know but I would go check. She said to let her know because if she wasn't home she would just go on without her.
I put my clothes on real quick and drove over to mom's which is only two blocks away. I pulled in the driveway and noticed the garage doors are open and all the lights are on. I checked the garage and didn't see Mom anywhere so I headed for the house. The dogs were in the yard and so happy to greet me. We went to the house together. The lights are on, the tv is playing and everything is just normal. Mom isn't in the living room so I headed for the kitchen to see if she was at the computer. Nope she isn't there. I peeked out the window to see if she was in the kennels but didn't see anything, so I walked out the back door and took a quick sweep through the kennel but saw no sign of mom.
I thought maybe she had gone to Beth's for some reason or that Beth might know where she was so I got in the car and buzzed over to my sisters and found her in the shed. I stuck my head in and said "I'm on a Momma hunt. Have you seen her today?" She said no so I told her I guess I would keep hunting. She said "I'll hunt with you" which was so out of the norm., but she jumped in the truck and we went back to Mom's. As we got out of our vehicles Beth immediately noticed that the mower was missing from the garage. She commented " Oh God! I hope she didn't go mow that ditch. I've told her a thousand times I'd do that for her." She jumped back in her truck and drove up around the block and pulled down into the pasture in search.
While she was gone I called Gilly and told her that we couldn't find Mom. All the lights are and on , the dogs are in the yard, but no Mom. She said she was at the Cuba corner so she would just come on over. Meanwhile, Beth drives up and comtemplates that maybe she had trouble with the mower…I'll run up to the shop and see if the boys have seen her.
While I wait, I sent my Aunt Pam a message asking if she had Mom cause we couldn't find her. She said no she had tried to call her that morning and the phone wasn't working, let me know when you find her. I figured if Mom was with anyone it would be Pam because they were always taking off together on some adventure together. They were not only sisters, but the best of friends.
Gilly, pulled up in the drive behind me and within minutes Beth was back. Gilly had her daughter Cissy and the baby with her. Together we went through the garage, back to the house and checked all the rooms. We met up in the back yard on the deck. I took one side of the yard. Beth and Cissy took the other, and Gilly walked down the middle. We checked the sheds and the kennels…and to this day II don't know what enticed Gilly to go through the back gate and down the draw…but she did.
Beth and Cissy were just closing up the big shed door, and I was checking the kennels when Gilly let out whale we call a war whoop that shook the earth and resonated in the still air that echoed across three states. We all ran franticly toward her as she started to walk back up to the gate. I was yelling, Where! What! Where!
She couldn't talk. She was shaking and pointing to the last dog Kennel. I ran to it and saw nothing. WHAT!!! She turned and started walking back toward the draw with us behind her. She and I got there first and we stood silently on the bank looking into the pond in disbelief. It took a minute or two for my brain to process what I was seeing. Beth and Cissy came up behind us. I don't recall any of us making a sound for a bit. We just stood there on the bank staring into the water in silence.
There in the pond was the heavy riding lawnmower upside down wheels in the air. I don't know what I thought I was seeing…and then there it was….just a tip of a rubber boot and a small circle of denim floating above the water. Then it hit me. Mom was pinned under the water with a riding lawnmower holding her down.
I think Beth spoke first. Oh My God. We all lost it.
Cissy asked, shall we get her out?
I said I don't know ..are we allowed to move her?
Cissy said I think we should get her out as she handed baby Owen to me and jumped into the cold water and Gilly followed. I was shaking so bad I couldn't stand so sit down on the draw, rocking the baby and begin to whale, Momma oh my Momma over and over. Beth jumped into the water and helped lift the mower off while Cissy and Gilly pulled Mom to the bank. I was shaking so bad I couldn't make the phone work but managed to get a text to Pam…come quick…was all I could manage. We all frantically begin making calls. I think I was only able to manage one as I was shaking so badly that I couldn't hit the numbers. I handed the baby back to Cissy and crossed to pond to where Mom laid….so cold…her eyes were open and I kept staring into her those beautiful brown lifeless eyes crying Momma oh Momma as though if I believed hard enough I could bring her back.
Beth was able to get 911 but they couldn't understand the address she was so frustrated she hung up and called the Republic county sheriff. She called her brother in law and he soon showed up with his mom. I think they were the first on the scene and had no idea what they were walking into. We were all crying, scared and frantic. Within minutes Pam drove up and I remember yelling that we were in the back. She came running franticly in wonder through the back yard to where we were gathered.
People started gathering along the road and around the house and Beth gave strict orders not to let anyone one on the property that wasn't necessary. It seemed like forever before the ambulance got there and once they did we all went to the house to warm up . Some made phone calls and some of us just broke down and cried. I remember going out on the front step and whaled, Momma oh my Momma. Standing at the gate was a friend of Beth's who was told she could not come in and she stood there at the gate and watched with such helplessness as I shed my tears.
My phone rang and it was my son Stevan. I couldn't talk, all I could do was whale with such desperation as he helplessly listened from a distance.
Once I had settled down a bit I went back outside and sit down by the fence on the wet ground as it began to sprinkle. The EMT came to talk to me and asked for details just as I had dialed the phone to call my best friend, I laid the phone down still connected and told my story the best that I could through the tears and the pain.
It wasn't long before Uncle Ike was there…I don't know who called him maybe Pam. Soon my brother Henry was there. By then they had moved mom from the west side of the bank to the draw and had put her in a body bag. Soon the coroner was there and they loaded the body into the hearse and took her away.
That day…is embedded in my memory and I get flash back pictures in my head now and then The sorrow causes at times feelings of guilt. I should have gone and checked on her the day before, but the truth of the matter is…if I had been standing right there when it happened…there would have been nothing I could have done. We feel the accident probably happened the morning before and the thought of her laying in that pond all day and night haunts me. Mom and I had had conversations of how long it would take for someone to find us if something ever happened and we jokingly concurred it could be weeks. I comfort myself when I tell her "Momma it didn't take two weeks." Yet in my heart it aches at the thought that she may have struggled with no help available. I tell myself that we aren't the only ones who have ever suffered a tragedy yet it holds little comfort.
That day...brought three sisters together. A rare event
That day... Cissy was coming to announce to her grandmother the expected arrival of their next baby. That little girl was born in October and was named Peggy Gail Peters. after her great grandmother and her grandmother.
That day…my life changed forever. I lost my best friend, my greatest cheerleader, my strongest supporter, and the one person I could always count on if I was in trouble.
That day…I lost my mom.
Susan Annette Pierce
1940 United States Federal Census Name: Peggy Nutsch Age: 3 Estimated birth year: abt 1937 Gender: Female Race: White Marital status: Single Relation to Head of House: Daughter Home in 1940: Mill Creek, Washington, Kansas Map of Home in 1940: View Map Sheet Number: 6B Attended School or College: No Highest Grade Completed: 0 Neighbors: View others on page Household Members: Name Age Henry A Nutsch 34 Alta Nutsch 27 Edith Nutsch 9 Jack H Nutsch 7 Ernest L Nutsch 6 Peggy Nutsch 3 Melven I Nutsch 1
Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961 Name: Peggy J Nutsch Enumeration Date: 1 Mar 1953 Registration Place: Mill Creek, Washington, Kansas, USA
Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961 Name: Peggy Pierce Enumeration Date: 1961 Registration Place: Haddam, Washington, Kansas, USA
U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2 Name: Peggy J Pierce Birth Date: 8 Jul 1936 Address: PO Box 66, Narka, KS, 66960-0066
U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2 Name: Peggy J Pierce Birth Date: 8 Jul 1936 Address: RR 1, Narka, KS, 66960-9451
U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/178397065 United States Obituary Collection
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