Mary “Peg” Kay, age 100, of Aberdeen, SD, formerly of Wilmot, SD, died on May 10, 2019, at Avera Mother Joseph Manor in Aberdeen, SD, with her family by her side.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Wilmot. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the funeral service. Rev. Dr. DeVern Schwenn will officiate, and burial will be at Wilmot City Cemetery.
Mary “Peg” (Humphrey) Kay was born in Iowa County, IA, on July 28, 1918, to Clarence and Alba (Popham) Humphrey. She grew up on the family farm and attended a rural school located a mile and a half from the farm.
Peg attended high school in Wellman, IA, graduating the spring before she turned 16 in 1934. She attended Iowa State Teacher’s College, receiving her two-year teaching certificate and taught school in Iowa.
On June 6, 1945, she married M. Sgt. Nayland C. Kay, who had just returned after spending four years in the Army Air Corps, including 30 months in the China Burma India Theater of World War II. They bought a farm near Wilmot, SD, and had four children: Craig, Nancy, Paula, and Donneley. Saturday nights would usually find Nayland and Peg dancing at the Coliseum in Browns Valley, MN.
Peg returned to teaching in the early 1950’s at Peever, SD, and Wilmot, SD. In addition, she took extension courses and attended summer school over many years, completing her four-year bachelor’s degree in elementary teacher education from Northern State University in 1970. Countless children got off to a great start in their education by being fortunate enough to have Peg as an early elementary teacher.
Peg loved watching sports and school concerts – and she did a lot of it. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren had many experiences with her sitting on the sidelines or in the audience clapping, cheering, and praying that they were able to do their best. And when there were no family members to watch, she continued to attend the Wilmot High School athletic events and cheer on the home team.
Peg retired from teaching in 1982, but she certainly didn’t retire from life. She became active in the Senior Games, competing in shot put, discus, softball throw, long jump, running races, and walking races. Some of her training for walking and running events consisted of walking laps around the church parking lot and mowing her home lawn and her lake cabin lawn with a push mower. In addition to attending many South Dakota Senior Games, she qualified for the Senior National Games numerous times; she was fortunate enough to attend her last Nationals in Minneapolis, MN, in 2015 where she won four gold medals and set national records in the 50 and 100 meter dashes for women in the 95-99 age bracket. She received several awards and recognitions from the South Dakota Senior Games Association, including Outstanding Female Athlete, Over 80 Outstanding Athlete, and Hall of Fame.
Peg loved music and made sure that her children learned to play musical instruments and sing. Nothing gave her more joy than to listen to her family make music. She was a part of the Wilmot Senior Kitchen Band – sometimes directing it and sometimes accompanying it on the piano or accordion.
Peg was active in the First Presbyterian Church, with the women’s groups, Sunday School, and worship. She especially enjoyed writing special programs for the women’s studies. She also was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.
In her final years, Peg moved to Aberdeen, SD, to be closer to family, but continued to be in Wilmot in her heart. Though her hands were too shaky to write many letters to friends, she so enjoyed the cards, letters, phone calls, and visits that she received from friends “back home.” She and her family were also so appreciative of the wonderful care she received from the staff at Mother Joseph Manor.
Peg is survived by children: Craig (Barb) Kay of Dassel, MN; Nancy (Randy) Hall of Willmar, MN; Paula (Ken) Carlson of Aberdeen, SD; and Donneley (LaRita) Kay of Warner, SD; brothers: Vaughn (Sam) Humphrey, and David Humphrey; grandchildren: Todd Kay, Kristine Kay Hanson, Michelle Kay Bellrichard, Leah Kay Clark, Jason Kay, Jennifer Kay Baker, Emily Kay, and Christopher Carlson; and great-grandchildren: Taryn Kay, Tyler Kay, Kaylie Hanson, Jared Hanson, Teddy Bellrichard, Ruthie Bellrichard, Gunner Kay, Jett Kay, Owen Clark, and Baby Boy Baker.
Peg was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Nayland in 1970; mother-in-law, Ida Kay; sisters: Trela and Edith; and brothers: Lloyd and Robert.