Hearts Love 25

Margaret (Graeser) Schaffer

April 4, 1935 ~ August 7, 2021 (age 86)


On August 7, 2021 we said a heartbroken but loving goodbye to Margaret (Peggy) Graeser Schaffer (formerly Peggy Zowada). Peggy was a gracious woman, and her kindness and radiant personality drew others to her.  Her friends adored her. Her daughters cherished her. She was generous and that generosity touched not only the lives of those she knew but also the lives of strangers. Whether it was donating to charities or paying the vet bill for a struggling family, her concern was often for others before herself. At the same time, Peggy was straightforward and honest. There was nothing false or pretentious about her. That meant she readily shared her opinion but never unkindly.  Because she was sensitive and intuitive, she was both truthful but considerate.  She was delightfully pragmatic and disarmingly funny. Peggy loved to laugh, and her sense of humor reflected her wit and wisdom. She was a great sport, and being in her company was always a joy. Intelligent and well read, Peggy championed equality for women and the fair and just treatment of all human beings.  Her concern extended to all living things, and she advocated for the humane treatment of animals as well as being a loving caretaker of her own dogs and cats.

Peggy was born in Manchester on April 4, 1935, to her parents Margaret and Edward Graeser. They later moved to Rockville.  Peggy settled in Ellington with her husband at the time, Raymond Zowada, where they raised their two daughters, Lisa and Leslie.  After completing her training at New Britain Hospital’s School of Nursing, Peggy worked as a RN both at Rockville General Hospital and as a private-duty nurse.  She would later become the Director of Volunteer Services at RGH, eventually taking over as head of Public Relations and Community Relations. Her career in healthcare then took her New Haven where she served as the Director of Risk Management at St. Raphael’s Hospital. She retired to Lutherville, Maryland, before moving back to Connecticut in 2014.

Even with all her success, Peggy remained the same person she had always been, one appreciative of the sacrifices made by her parents despite their humble circumstances.

In addition to her family and friends, Peggy loved traveling, especially to Cape Cod. She was a voracious reader and surrounded herself with books.  Besides the dogs and cats lucky enough to be in her care, Peggy loved Clydesdale horses, and traveled with her daughter Lisa to New Hampshire and Mystic to see them.  Peggy also proudly counted herself among the “Golden Girls,” a group of four friends who have known each other for decades. 

Peggy is predeceased by her parents and by her daughter Leslie Zowada. She is survived by her daughter Lisa Zowada, who regarded her mother as her best friend, and her daughter-in-law Elaine Sauve.  She also leaves behind the Golden Girls, Judy Trevison, Charlotte Turner, and Sandy Dahl, as well as her childhood friend Jane Voight.  Her cousin George Jones and his wife Melissa will also miss her, as will Diane Sullivan and Nancy Steffens to whom Peggy was like a second mother.  Lastly but not least, there is Mia, her Persian cat who now resides with her daughter.

The family would like to thank the staff, aides, and nurses of Brookdale Senior Living of South Windsor for their loving care of Peggy.  The family also wishes to thank the nurses of Seasons Hospice. A celebration of Peggy’s life will be held at a future date.

If you wish to honor Peggy’s life and her generosity, donations can be made to her three favorite charities:  Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741 or by phone 435-644-4801, ASPCA Tributes, 520 8th Avenue, 7th Floor, NY, NY 10018 or 800-628-0028, and Gilchrist Hospice of Towson, who provided wonderful care for her daughter Leslie, 555 West Towsontown Blvd. Towson, MD 21204.

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