At Saturday’s memorial service for Peggy Lee Todd, the preacher won’t be in suit and tie and the mourners won’t be wearing black.
They’ve been asked to come in bright-colored, casual clothes befitting a celebration of the life of the feisty and fun-loving Todd.
“That’s how she would have wanted it,” said Shirley Herren of Bethlehem, the oldest of Todd’s three daughters.
Peggy Lee Todd, 85, of Duluth died Jan. 6 after an extended illness. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Wages & Sons Funeral Home, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville.
She was born in Tampa, Fla. but spent most of her life in Georgia. She worked in the insurance industry in the 1940s and for many years was co-owner of Custom Craft Seat Cover Co. in the Tucker area with Ed Todd, her husband of 63 years.
Family and gambling were two of her biggest passions, and she often put the two together. She and daughters Connie Bailey of Loganville, Joyce Bagley of Buford and Herren took many “girl trips” to casinos and dog tracks in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Florida. When daughter Joyce became a flight attendant, Mrs. Todd would sometimes fly with her, playing poker all night while Joyce slept and allowing herself just enough time for a quick change of clothes before the two hopped back on the airplane.
“She loved life, and she always wanted to go,” Herren said.
Todd played bingo several times a week, even in her final years in the nursing home. Lunch-time and after-hour poker games were routine at the family business and on Friday nights at home.
“She was very lucky,” Herren said. “It was rare that she didn’t win or break even.”
She loved having a good time and made her daughters’ friends feel welcome in her home. She’d be up with them on a makeshift dance floor and have them all laughing when she’d stand on her head and challenge them to do the same.
She was a little star struck, as she proved on a visit to New York with her husband. She saw a chance to meet actor Robert Cummings, probably best know as Grace Kelly’s love interest in Dial M for Murder. But she cut short the encounter, telling Mr. Cummings that, in her excitement, she’d left her husband standing out in the snow.
“She was just thoroughly overwhelmed by meeting an actor,” Bagley said.
Mrs. Todd devoured all the latest celebrity news as a decades-long subscriber to The National Enquirer. She herself was mistaken for Lucille Ball a time or two, when she had her red hair in a French twist.
The family was always together for holidays and birthdays, and Todd made sure she passed on her strong faith in God, her good morals and her work ethic, her daughters said.
“It was important to her that we learned all the goodness that the world has to offer and to take it in abundance,” Bailey said.
“We’re losing one of our best friends,” Bagley said. “But we’re so grateful we had her for 85 years.”
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