Margaret (Stewart) Rieckman, or Peg to all who knew her, died Friday, April 19, at age 92.
Peg died peacefully in her sleep at Elijah’s Place, her home for the past three and a half years. In consideration of her strong faith and belief in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, it was fitting that she began her new journey on Good Friday.
Peg was born on Dec. 7, 1926, in Watertown, S.D., the third of the four Stewart girls born to LeRoy Kenyon and Ora Ilyene (Algard) Stewart. Peg graduated from Watertown High School in 1944 and went to work as a bank teller. She was eventually swept off her feet by a dashing young Army Air Force pilot, Bob “Rick” Rieckman, who was stationed at the Watertown air base. Peg would later suggest it was not love at first sight.
But Bob was a persistent suitor, taking Peg on 29 dates in 30 days in October 1945. After a 14- month courtship, they were married Dec. 21, 1946. It was the beginning of an incredible love story that lasted 61 years before Bob died in 2008.
Peg was committed to her young family and relished her role as a stay at home mom, which she considered the best job ever. After the family established roots in Oshkosh, Peg entered the work force, first as a clerk at the Exclusive Company and later as an executive assistant for the City of Oshkosh. She worked for the city for 22 years in several departments before retiring as assistant to the purchasing agent in 1989. She was a friend to all she worked with and a mentor to many.
Once freed from the 9-to-5 routine, Peg got down to work. Her retirement motto was “I’m only doing the things which I enjoy,” and filled her days with volunteer work, a part-time job at the Colony House, traveling, pampering her stunning flower beds and doting on her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Peg was especially devoted to her church, St. Andrews Lutheran Church, and its members who were her second family.
Her passion was helping others, especially when she could impact the lives of children. She was instrumental in launching the annual Back to School Fair and became accomplished at stuffing back packs with school supplies. She shared her joy of Christmas by actively assisting with the Sunday school’s Christmas program, creating unique costumes for each child.
Among her volunteer activities were as a hospice volunteer, the Stephen Ministry, a board member of the Friends of Tourism, the EAA Housing Hotline and the Oshkosh Garden Club. At home she loved the feel of gardening soil in her hands and offered flowers from her gardens to weddings and other special occasions.
Peg will be remembered for her ever-present infectious smile and gracious heart. Her unconditional and unwavering love for her family, friends and church is her enduring legacy that enriches all who knew and loved her.
Peg is survived by a son, Stewart (Donna) Rieckman, Oshkosh and daughter Susan (Richard) Gerth-Waldburger, Green Lake; grandchildren Amy (Michael) Radtke, Oak Creek; Bryan (SuAnne) Rieckman, Appleton; Alison Gerth, Berlin, and Kenyon (Liz) Gerth, Appleton; great grandchildren Andrew Radtke, Molly Radtke, Gus Rieckman, Adah Rieckman, J.J. Gerth and Asher Gerth.
She is further survived by a sister-in-law, Donna Morrisette and many nieces and nephews.
Peg was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Robert Louis Rieckman, a son Robert Blake Rieckman and sisters Adele Thomas, Betty Rowden and Caryl Stewart and sister-in-law Dorothy Branes.
A memorial service for Peg will be held Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew Evangelical Lutheran Church with the Reverend Karen Jewell officiating. Visitation will be at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for St. Andrew Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Peg’s family is grateful to the staffs of Gabriel’s Villa and Elijah’s Place for the tender and loving care they provided.
“For everything there is a season … a time to be born and a time to die.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8.