Peggy A. Kessler, 58, of rural Valley Springs, SD passed away Friday, May 4, 2018 at the Avera Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD. Her funeral service will be 10:30 AM Tuesday, May 8 at First Congregational Church, Sioux Falls, with burial at Beaver Valley Lutheran Cemetery, rural Valley Springs, SD. Visitation begins at 5:00 PM Monday, May 7 at George Boom Funeral Chapel, Brandon, where the family will greet friends from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
Peggy A. Kessler was born on August 12, 1959 in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Celestine and Marvelyn (Tollgaard) Kessler. They moved to Brookings, South Dakota in 1965. Peggy graduated from Brookings High School in 1977 and went on to attend South Dakota State University and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Recreation. While attending SDSU, Peggy met Jana Carlson and the couple moved to Sioux Falls, where Peggy went to work for Zip Feed Mills until they closed in 2000. In 1984, they moved to Valley Springs, South Dakota and Peggy later began work with Luverne Truck Equipment in 2000 until the present. Peggy and Jana were married on November 27, 2013.
She was an avid sports fan, as well as a talented participant. In high school and college, Peggy participated in basketball, volleyball, track and softball. Peggy loved playing softball from 1977 through 1988, helping her team win 2 state tournaments, and was inducted into the South Dakota ASA Softball Hall of Fame in 1990. Peggy officiated volleyball for 21 years and was the first volleyball official to be named NFIOA Outstanding Official for South Dakota in 1990. In 2008, the SDHSAA presented Peggy with the Officials’ Leadership Award from the SD Girls and Women’s Sports.
Peggy loved her family, her friends, and meeting new friends. When not at work, you would find Peggy out camping, riding horses, golfing, watching football, traveling, geocaching and just being outdoors. As many could attest, Peggy was the #1 Minnesota Vikings Fan. She would jump at the chance to attend a game, but when that couldn’t happen, you would find her glued to the TV, singing the Vikings Fight song after each score.
After being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in 2001, Peggy was an advocate through the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, answering countless emails and phone calls to offer help and support to others. Peggy also hosted 7 golf tournaments to raise awareness and funding for Pancreatic Cancer. In 2009, she received the Randy Pausch (author of the Last Lecture) award presented by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Washington, D.C.
Peggy’s family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the staff of the Avera Dougherty Hospice House for the gentle and compassionate care they provided to Peggy in her final days.
Grateful for having shared her life are her wife, Jana Carlson, Valley Springs, SD; two sisters, Pamella Kessler, Brandon, SD, Beth Schwartz and her husband, Steve, Volga, SD; many nieces and nephews, including Tyler Schwartz, Kamryn Schwartz, Kendall Schwartz, Kelli Foltz and her husband, Glen; an uncle, Elmer Tollgaard, La Mesa, CA; an aunt, Angela Schilling, Aberdeen, SD; and a host of other relatives and many friends.
Peggy was preceded in death by her parents, Celestine and Marvelyn Kessler; a brother, James Kessler; and a sister, Susan Bartscher.