Margaret Headley  

Margaret “Peggy” Headley Nelson, 89, of Rye, N.Y., Frankfort, Mich., and Vero Beach, Fla., died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on May 20, 2024.

Margaret Headley
Published May 24, 2024 11:57 PM
2 min read


Margaret “Peggy” Headley Nelson, 89, of Rye, N.Y., Frankfort, Mich., and Vero Beach, Fla., died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on May 20, 2024. She was the beloved wife of Walter “Wally” Nelson for 67 years and the daughter of Richard and Margaret Headley. Peggy was predeceased by two older sisters, Mary Chick and Nancy Hurley. 

Peggy graduated in 1956 from The University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in physical education. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. During her senior year in college, she met her husband Wally on a blind date. At the time, Wally was a captain in the U.S. Air Force based in Williams Bay, Wisc. Wally and Peggy married in 1956 in River Forest, Ill., and honeymooned in Frankfort on Crystal Lake, where her family had a summer cottage. 

Following her graduation from Wisconsin, Peggy taught kindergarten prior to starting her family. While raising her four children, she excelled in many athletic endeavors and gave endless time, talent and resources back to her community. Peggy, Wally and their family moved to Rye in 1967 and were quickly embraced by the strong community, becoming members of The Apawamis Club and Manursing Island Club. Peggy was a long-time member of the women’s “A” team in both tennis and paddle at Manursing Island Club. She became an aerobics instructor in 1983 and spent countless hours practicing her routines and teaching classes for several years. Peggy took up golf later in life and enjoyed playing with friends and family and loved traveling with her husband in the U.S. Seniors Association. 

Peggy was the loving mother of four children: Dean (Maureen) Nelson, Betsy (Rick) Shepherd, Wendy (Paul) Nagle and Tiffany (Jeffrey) Begoon; and cherished grandmother of 12: Christopher, Charlie and Colin Nelson, Margaret and Mack Shepherd, Brendan, Katherine and Charles Nagle, Bridget (Thomas) Stephan, Ryan, Maxwell and Casey Begoon. 

Peggy was a devoted wife and caring mother, who loved to entertain and welcome people into her home with her big smile and bright blue eyes. She was kind, thoughtful, and intelligent, and loved animals, golf, paddle, and tennis. Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her extended family and friends in Rye, Vero Beach and Frankfort, where she made countless memories with her children and 12 grandchildren. Peggy grew up sailing and racing “C” scows on Crystal Lake as a captain and member of the Crystal Lake Yacht Club, where she often had her husband as crew. Her family marveled at the fact that she water skied until the age of 65! 

Peggy’s philanthropic endeavors started as a candy striper at United Hospital in Port Chester, N.Y. She was very involved in the 27th TWIG Organization, the fundraising and volunteer arm of United Hospital and served as the chair of the Board of Managers from 1989-1992. Peggy was the first female to serve on the Board at Manursing Island Club. She also held a board position at Paul Oliver Hospital in Frankfort. 

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held on Aug. 2, 2024 at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Mich., a place where generations of family have gathered every summer. 

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