Margaret ‘Peg’ McGrath

Margaret “Peg” Bambrick McGrath, 92, of Grand Island passed away peacefully on July 26, 2019, at Tiffany Square Care Center.

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, at First Presbyterian Church, with Pastor Gary Smith officiating. Burial will follow in Grand Island City Cemetery.

Peg was born on July 13, 1927, in Chicago, Ill. In the early 1930s her mother, Hattie Kent Bambrick, moved back to her beloved hills of Pocahontas County, W.Va., to care for her aging parents, George and Mantie Bambrick. Peg was raised by Hattie in the log cabin built by her great-grandfather, Reuben Morgan Grimes. She attended public schools in Pocahontas County, where she really did walk several miles along unpaved roads to get to school. After graduating from high school, she worked briefly for the federal government in Chicago and was transferred in 1945 to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the War Department. She was subsequently accepted into nursing school at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago.

While working as the head nurse on one of the floors at the hospital, Peg met a dashing young doctor, C. Dean McGrath, who became the love of her life. They married in Chicago on July 14, 1951, three weeks before Dean was to ship overseas to serve as a member of the Air Force in Japan. Their honeymoon entailed a drive across the country with stops, including Grand Island to meet Dean’s family, a night at Donner Lake in Nevada, at Yosemite National Park where they met Dean’s sister, Jean, and her husband, Vic Frost, and finally to San Francisco, where Dean shipped out and Peg drove back to Chicago with Jean and Dean’s stepmother, Martha Zeleski McGrath. Peg joined her new husband in Japan in 1952 and they spent a year enjoying the culture there and making many friends; they returned to Chicago when Peg was pregnant with the first of their four children. After Dean finished his medical service in Chicago, the young couple settled in Dean’s hometown of Grand Island, where Dean joined his father, W.D. McGrath, in medical practice.

Peg set about raising her family of four, Charles Dean McGrath Jr. of Alexandria, Va. (married to Pat Bryan), Melissa Ann “Lisa” McGrath of Huntsville, Ala., (married to Jim Kinnally), Kerry Wilmer McGrath of Grand Island (married to Renee Meister), and Martha Jean “Marcy” Kovar of Oregon City, Ore. (married to Jeff Kovar). Peg was a devoted mother who instilled by her example and support the importance of doing well in school and having a good work ethic. She was a big fan of all her kids’ activities, especially sports, and she was involved in many pursuits throughout her life, including book club, bridge, PEO, and the St. Francis Medical Auxiliary. She volunteered a great deal of time to various organizations around Grand Island, including the Red Cross Bloodmobile, Wedgewood Nursing Home, the YMCA, Stuhr Museum, Meals on Wheels and the Grand Island Public Library. She was a huge fan of Nebraska Huskers football and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. After Dean’s retirement in 1992, they enjoyed several months a year at their second home in Treasure Cay, Bahamas, during winter months, and they traveled the world, including to Europe, Mexico, through the Panama Canal, Jamaica, Russia, Greece and Australia, as well as all over the United States.

Peg was preceded in death by her mother, Hattie, in 1982, and her beloved Dean in January 2018.

She is survived by her four children, as well as eight grandchildren (Aaron and Andrea McGrath; Kade, Shawn, and Luke Kovar; Thomas, Kelly, and David McGrath).

Donations in Peg’s memory are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church of Grand Island, Stuhr Museum or the Grand Island Public Library.

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