Elizabeth Louise (Peggy) McMurray Becker Hans, age 75, died Thursday, March 5, 2020 at the King’s Daughters’ Hospital in Madison, surrounded by family and friends and the faint but unmistakable sounds of a heavenly choir.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Hans, who died on June 3, 2014; mother, Helen Mae Kreis McMurray; father, Robert Lewis McMurray; grandfather, Louis A. Kreis; grandmother, Lillian Doersam Kreis; and grandmother, Martha Weber McMurray.
She is survived by her brother Louis Robert (Robin) McMurray, Monroe MI; son Ted Becker (Barbara), East Lansing, MI; daughter Christie Gower (Scott), Howell MI; and five beloved grandchildren: Garrett Gower, Hayden Gower, Lexa Becker, Stephanie Becker, and Valerie Elizabeth Becker (whose middle name is no coincidence).
Peggy was born February 20, 1945 in Paris, Texas where her father was serving as a lieutenant in the Army. As a child, she lived in Buffalo, NY, Trenton, NJ, and Flint, MI. She was a proud graduate of the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), but during her many years in Madison, she covered all her bases by developing equally strong affection for UK, U of L, and IU.
Peggy moved from Michigan to Carrollton, Kentucky in 1972, where she was a long-time editor of the Carrollton News-Democrat, a position she held until 1985. As editor, Peggy earned numerous awards from the Kentucky Press Association. She acquired photography skills and with her Nikon traveled the area searching for interesting subjects: kids, adults, dancers, horses, floods, celebrities, governors, Rosalynn Carter, and other visitors. (Those who know her well know that she was never one to let a photo opportunity go to waste, to the occasional exasperation of her friends and family!) One of her proudest accomplishments, through her advocacy at the News Democrat, led to establishment of a library tax, making it possible for a funded library in Carroll County.
Peggy then worked for River Valley Resources in Madison for 23 years, first in the field office, then the WorkOne Center, and finally in RVR Administration as Director of Marketing, trainer, and grant writer. She conducted numerous training events in high schools all over southeastern Indiana, highlighting non-traditional employment opportunities. She was invited to present in Washington, DC and elsewhere at national conferences.
On June 17, 1981, after a Wednesday night service at Christ Episcopal Church, Bill asked Peggy to marry him. He always reminded her that for almost an hour, she said absolutely nothing (an extraordinarily rare occurrence). They celebrated this occasion throughout their marriage, which occurred on October 25, 1981 at Christ Episcopal Church. She moved to Madison in 1982 and they lived on the hilltop after their marriage, later moving downtown, where they hosted an annual party for Chautauqua where margaritas and laughter flowed. Their house was filled with (probably too many) books and (definitely never enough) music plus a menagerie of cats underfoot.
She loved Bill, the Lord, and music with all her heart, bringing all of them together by playing the organ at seemingly every church in Madison at one time or another. She was a long-time parishioner at Christ Episcopal Church, where she served on the Vestry for many years.
Peggy suffered medical reverses later in life but was supported by the love and friendship of too many people to count. Her family is immensely thankful for the support she received from all her friends. She frequently told her family that it was a wonderful thing to live in a small town where people look out for each other. She was right. Requiescat in pace, Mom.
The Reverend Evelyn Wheeler will conduct funeral services at 11:00 AM Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at Christ Episcopal Church, corner of Third and Mulberry Streets in Madison,
with interment to follow in Springdale Cemetery.
Friends may call from 5:00 to 8:00 PM Monday, March 9, 2020 at St. John’s United Church of Christ, East Main Street, Madison.
The family requests memorial contributions be made to Christ Episcopal Church, the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library, or the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Cards will be available at each church.
Stewart-Hoagland Funeral Home, Scottsburg, Indiana is in charge of the arrangements.