Margaret Boyle Whitworth

                    October 7, 1942  -  October 25, 2013

Send Flowers  |  Send Card

Life Legacy

Born October 7, 1942, daughter of Neil J. Boyle and Catherine Collins Boyle, Peggy Whitworth died on October 25, 2013, surrounded by family and friends. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Cedar Rapids, by Rev. David Beckman. Visitation: 4-8 p.m. on Monday at Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids. Burial at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, at a later date.

Additional parking for the visitation for Peggy is available after 5 p.m. on Monday next door to the funeral home in the Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors parking lot (the corner of 19th Street and 1st Ave NE).

Loving mother to Patrick Alan Whitworth of Cedar Rapids, she is also survived by brothers, Thomas Boyle of Bennett, Iowa, and Timothy P. Boyle of Cedar Rapids; sister, Jane (Jim) Boyle Field of Sacramento, California; and nephew, Daniel Brendan Boyle of Central City. She was preceded in death by her parents; and her older sister, Nancy Boyle Macy.

After living the first years of her life in Madison, Wisconsin, Peggy and her family moved to Sperry, Iowa, and ultimately to Bennett, Iowa, where she lived until leaving for college. Peggy graduated from Mount Mercy College in 1964 and later completed a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Iowa.

After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Mt. Mercy, she worked in the Mount Mercy Admissions Office, driving her new Ford Mustang throughout the state of Iowa to recruit students. She married Alan Whitworth in 1969; their marriage later ended in divorce.

After working on his 1974 Senate campaign, she joined the staff of Iowa Senator John C. Culver, serving in his Cedar Rapids office until his defeat in 1980. To say she caught the political bug was an understatement, and so began her life-long volunteer career in politics.

In 1981, Peggy was named Executive Director of Brucemore, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, bequeathed to the National Trust by Margaret Douglas Hall. Under Peggy’s tenacious leadership, major restoration, preservation, and rehabilitation projects established a pattern of stewardship that Brucemore continues today. In her 26 years as Director, Peggy’s most significant legacy, however, is the infusion of culture and performing arts into the identity of the site. When Mrs. Hall left her home to the National Trust, she envisioned a resource for the community that was not constrained by widely held assumptions about appropriate historic house museums’ use at the time. In accordance with Mrs. Hall’s wishes, the blessing of the National Trust, and the support of the Brucemore Board of Trustees, Peggy established the historic site as a community cultural center with annual events like Celebration of the Arts, theatrical productions like The Classics at Brucemore, and special performers like the Joffrey Ballet. The innovative use of a historic estate as a hub of cultural activity cemented the estate’s connection with the community and established Brucemore as an example of best practice in the field of historic preservation. Thanks to Peggy, Brucemore is a nationally-respected National Trust property and locally-loved community treasure.

In addition to stewarding Brucemore in its formative years, Peggy made an indelible mark on the cultural fabric of the state of Iowa, serving on the Iowa Public Television Foundation Board, the State Historical Society Board, the Iowa Historical Foundation Board, the Terrace Hill Board, and locally on the boards of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, SPT Theatre and the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Peggy provided leadership for the Paramount Theatre in three different campaigns, including chairing the 1975 capital campaign, working on the 2000 capital campaign, and serving as community representative for the Paramount’s most recent post-flood rebuilding effort. Legion Arts/CSPS also benefited from her assistance in their $7 million campaign to rebuild after the flood. Outside the cultural realm, Peggy served two terms on the Iowa Board of Pharmacy from 2007 to 2013, and was a charter member of John C. Culver Public Policy Center Board.

Most central to Peggy’s life was her beloved son, Patrick, with whom Peggy enjoyed countless road trips to Big 10 campuses throughout the country. Peggy and Patrick shared a love for marching band music, Kernels’ baseball, UI Women’s basketball, and any sport Notre Dame played. Patrick’s enthusiasm for life was Peggy’s inspiration for her service on the ARC Board of Directors and her involvement in Options of Linn County. No one advocated more passionately for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities than Peggy.

For more than three decades, Peggy involved herself in numerous state and national political campaigns. She was a legendary mentor to countless young campaigners who’d come to Iowa to cut their political teeth. She housed them, she fed them, and inspired them – showing by example how hard work, high standards, and selfless commitment can win campaigns. Every Democratic presidential candidate sought her counsel and endorsement. A hand-written note from President Barack Obama received on the day she died read, “Your activism and passion have changed the world for the better.”

Gifts in Peggy’s memory may be directed to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, with designation to the Peggy Boyle Whitworth Endowed Fund for Brucemore.

Send Flowers or Gifts
Send a Sympathy Card

Born: October 7, 1942

Death: October 25, 2013

Place of Death: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Memorial donations may be made to:
Peggy Boyle Whitworth Endowed Fund for Brucemore - Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

This memorial provided by:
Stewart Baxter Funeral and Memorial Services of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Marion, Iowa