Marian “Peggy” Lewis: Feb. 19, 1922 – Oct. 29, 2018

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Editor’s note: We are saddened to report the news of Peggy Lewis’s death. Both Peggy Lewis and her son, Jon Lewis, have contributed to A News Cafe. Click here to read some Peggy Lewis stories. 

A lifelong love of learning, a positive attitude, an unceasing delight in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a friend to all she encountered were just some of the attributes of Peggy, who passed away Oct. 29 at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. She was 96.

Hers was a life lived to its absolute fullest. During her long and productive lifetime, and with an almost otherworldly degree of grace, Peggy managed to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah while assisting in the World War II effort; rear four rambunctious boys; ably assist in the construction of the family’s ranch home near Waterford; launch a new and rewarding career following the premature death of her husband; become an international traveler; embark on a wealth of educational opportunities through the Modesto Institute for Continued Learning; and pursue a passion for music and camaraderie through the Sweet Adelines’ River Lights Chorus and the Modesto Funstrummers ukulele band.

Her greatest achievement, though, was the unfettered joy she brought to all who knew her. Her hundreds of friendships—many of them lifelong—were rich, enduring and treasured. When the Modesto YMCA closed its doors in 2009, ending a longstanding exercise routine, Peggy continued her friendships by enjoying a weekly coffee klatch with her beloved “Y’s Women.” The years she spent in the writing workshop at the Modesto Institute for Continued Learning created several friendships, as did the 40 years of harmonizing with the Sweet Adelines chorus.

During her time with MICL, she wrote dozens of short stories about her childhood in Utah, her college years, her fascination with words and other topics. Three of her stories were published in A News Café.

Peggy was an avid reader, devouring mysteries, biographies and historical novels—Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series was a favorite—on a weekly basis. Her reading habit put her in good stead for another of her passions: crossword puzzles.

Peggy’s rich and varied life began in Feb. 19, 1922, when she was born to Margaret and Albert Daniel “A.D.” Keller in Castle Dale, Utah. She was the third of four children. After college and her contributions to the war effort, she moved to San Francisco to work with a management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. It was in San Francisco where she met Ralph Lewis, a WW II veteran attending the University of San Francisco; they married in 1947 and relocated to Palo Alto in 1951.

In 1968, the family moved to a 30-acre almond ranch on Highway 132, approximately two miles west of Waterford, where Peggy happily adapted to the farming lifestyle. Tragedy struck in the spring of 1973 when Ralph died. With two sons still at home, Peggy returned to the work force and remained employed by Wells Fargo until her retirement in 1988.

An inveterate traveler throughout her life, Peggy’s itinerary included visits to Mexico, China, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scotland, Ireland, South America, England, Alaska, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Hawaii.


Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph, and son, Timothy. She is survived by sons Michael (Cindy) of Bonita, Calif.; Kit of Modesto; and Jon of Redding; grandchildren Justin (Rosa) of Orangevale; Jessica Nobriga (Nick) of Sausalito; Todd of Modesto; Emily Mraule (Mark) of Rocklin, and Marc of Bonita; and four great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Modesto Gospel Mission,

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at
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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Jon, what a wonderful tribute to your lovely Mother. I know you’ll miss her, and ANC readers will miss her writings. We were fortunate to have those brief encounters.

  2. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Jon, I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. You are in my heart. I love your tribute to you mother. She had such a full and adventure-filled life…..

  3. Oh, Jon. I am so sorry about your mom’s passing. She was such a bright, witty, interesting part of ANC. But not only was she a talented writer, but she was a rare and wonderful human being.
    I always admired the relationship you two shared. She was lucky to have you as a son, and you were lucky to have her as a mother.

    I cannot imagine what it took out of you to write your own mother’s obituary, but you did an awesome job. Thank you.

    And thank your mom to ANC. The site was better for it.

    Rest in peace, Peggy Lewis.

    My deepest condolences for your loss, Jon.

  4. Jon Lewis Jon Lewis says:

    Thank you, Doni. Your heartfelt kindness will be forever appreciated.

  5. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Much love and many hugs.

  6. Avatar Candace C says:

    Jon, I’m sorry for your sadness and the loss of your mother. She sounds ( and looks) like she was a loving and extraordinary woman who lived her life to the fullest, bringing joy to herself as well as others. I’m sure as her son you loved her well and I hope that thought brings you a bit of solace.