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Marguerite M. "Peggy" McDermott

May 11, 1944 — August 22, 2022

Philadelphia

Marguerite M. "Peggy" McDermott

Marguerite “Peggy” McDermott of Philadelphia, 78, educator, psychologist, mother, and grandmother, passed away on Monday, August 22nd  from complications of kidney disease. Born to Margaret and Michael Moughan on May 11, 1944, Peggy was a South Philly girl who embraced the world.

The oldest of six children, Peggy would frequently entertain her siblings by playing “teacher” with them from an early age. She attended Saint Gabriel Elementary School and Saint Maria Goretti High School and was much loved and often the life of every room she entered.  As editor of her high school magazine, she penned an article about the person whom she would eventually marry, Lawrence (Larry) McDermott, who had also been the neighborhood paperboy. 

After innumerable dates at the Palestra cheering on their favorite basketball team, the Villanova Wildcats, Peggy and Larry married in June of 1965. Peggy began raising a family with her husband who was working for Wyeth Laboratories and earning his law degree at night. After having children and settling into her life in Saint Dorothy’s Parish, Peggy decided to pursue her college degree, enrolling in Delaware County Community College, where she rekindled her love of learning. With the help of a scholarship, she went on to study Philosophy at Rosemont College. She worked on a Master’s in Philosophy at Villanova and eventually earned her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. Ten years later, she went back to her first love, and obtained a Master’s in English Literature from West Chester University. She wrote her MA thesis on Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, which she had always hoped to transform into a play. For her own fulfillment, she penned notebooks of poems and short stories as well. 

While a lifelong learner and academic, Peggy also devoted herself to the community. She worked as a patent secretary in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and later as a counseling psychologist at a Philadelphia methadone clinic. Eventually, Peggy worked as a counselor for returning students at Rosemont College and found her passion as an instructor of English Composition and Literature, teaching at Cabrini College and entertaining offers to teach at other institutions—a promising career cut short by health troubles.   

Peggy was deeply spiritual, attracted to Buddhist philosophy as well as being a practicing Catholic. Peggy also lived by two dicta: Eleanor Roosevelt’s “You must do the things you think you cannot do,” and Joseph Campbell’s “Follow Your Bliss.” She will be remembered as a brave, generous, inquisitive, stylish, and self-deprecating soul with a big personality and warm heart.  She knew the names of people within two minutes of meeting them; there was no such

thing as a stranger to Peggy, only a new friend.  She also wrote warm letters to her inspirations: authors and other luminaries. Many of them would be so moved that they would write her back.   

Fans of reading, music, film, and the theater, Peggy and Larry both loved travelling the most. Later in life, they began to spend a significant part of each year in Paris as well as maintaining a home in Drexel Hill. A natural with languages, Peggy became conversant in French in her 60s, formed several deep friendships with French friends, and developed a weakness for French cheeses.   

Peggy is survived by Lawrence, her beloved husband of fifty-seven years, her sons Lawrence (Alyona Simikina) and Brian (Jessica Gilpert), and her daughter Mary (Shelton Henderson), as well as by her grandchildren, the three youngest being Faelan, Ronan, and Eva. She is also survived by her sisters Kate and Beth (Dr. Mary Moran), her brothers Michael (Cris Cavalieri) John (Regina), and James (Janice), as well as by her sister-in-law Patrice Haines (the late Tom Haines).  Her sister-in-law, Sr. Maureen McDermott, I.H.M. predeceased her.   Peggy is also survived by many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews. 

Relatives and friends are invited to Peggy’s viewing on Monday, August 29, 2022, from 9:30 AM to 10:15 AM at St. Dorothy Church, 4910 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026. The Funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 AM. Interment Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to a cause Peggy believed in, Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130. 

 

 

 

 

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Past Services

Visitation

Monday, August 29, 2022

9:30 - 10:15 am (Eastern time)

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Mass

Monday, August 29, 2022

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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Burial

Monday, August 29, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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