October 12, 1923 - September 4, 2013
Margaret “Peggy” Donkersley passed away peacefully after a short illness on September 4, 2013. Peggy was born in Liverpool, England, in 1923. She lived there with her father, William, who owned a general store, her mother, Eleanor, her younger brother Raymond, and her grandfather, a sail maker who had been at sea for over 40 years. As a child Peggy especially enjoyed her grandfather’s stories about running the northern blockade during the Civil War and being in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake. Peggy’s mother suffered several strokes and it was the attentive nursing she received that made Peggy determined to become a nurse.
At age 18 Peggy began training as a nurse at St. Catherine’s hospital in Liverpool. That allowed her to avoid being drafted into the military and to stay close to her family. Peggy learned on the job, nursing wounded soldiers and treating local casualties from bombing. Peggy always said that in England a nurse never stopped learning. She took additional training in neurology, midwifery, and infectious disease. Her nursing career lasted for 56 years.
After the war she and her brother went to Canada in 1954. Peggy worked there as a company nurse for 5 years and then followed her brother to California. Peggy planned to continue on to New Zealand but nursing interfered. She worked at several hospitals in southern California where she met Helen Fowler at St. Luke’s Hospital. Helen got Peggy interested in Mariposa and found her a house there. Peggy moved to Mariposa in 1973 and began nursing at John C. Fremont Hospital. She lived with her dear friend, Vera “Bunny” Welch until Bunny’s death in 1995.
Peggy made many friends in Mariposa. She was fascinated by local history and was a guide for courthouse tours. She worked at the Mariposa Visitors’ Center, welcoming tourists to the area. Peggy always had dogs – usually BIG dogs like Newfoundlands.- and she was an active member of the Mariposa Dog Club. She was a strong supporter of the Mariposa SPCA.
Peggy enjoyed activities at the Mariposa Senior Center. She volunteered there for many years and continued to enjoy the meals provided there until recently. She was a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer for Manna House for many years as well.
Peggy is survived by her nephews, Keith and James Donkersley, her sister-in-law Evangeline Donkersley, and many friends.
A Celebration of her Life is being planned for Saturday, October 12, 1 PM, at the Mariposa Senior Center.
Contributions honoring Peggy can be made to Manna House, the Mariposa SPCA, or any charity of the donor’s choice.