Margaret M. McDougle

Margaret “Peg” Mary (Hurney) McDougle, 96, a longtime resident of Keene, passed away Sept. 30, 2019, in Jaffrey at the Good Shepherd/Jaffrey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, surrounded by her family and caregivers.

She was born in Boston Sunday, Feb. 11, 1923, the daughter of Mary Jane (Bernier) and Joseph H. Hurney, Sr.

She graduated from Practical Arts High School in Roxbury, Mass., where she studied pre-nursing and salesmanship. She played the violin in the school orchestra and with the Boston Public School Symphony Orchestra, which practiced and played in Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Following high school, she worked as a marker in a large department store in Boston. At the start of World War II, she went to work at a gear works plant in Quincy, Mass., near the shipyards where many U.S. Naval ships were built. In 1943, she enrolled at the Boston City Hospital School of Nursing, which was considered to be demanding and thorough and which, she later said, was the best decision she ever made. Upon graduating as an RN, she remained at Boston City Hospital as a private-duty nurse and also worked at Boston Children’s Hospital before joining the U.S. Navy in 1947. She served as a Nurse Ensign until 1950, first in St. Albans (Queens), N.Y., then in Annapolis, Md., and Chelsea, Mass.

She married in 1949 and, for a brief time lived in Miami, working at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She later moved to Jacksonville, N.C., and worked at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune. When her husband retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1962, the family, including five young children, settled in Marlow and later moved to Keene.

She returned to nursing in 1965 as an emergency room nurse at the former Elliot Community Hospital in Keene. She was instrumental in Elliot Hospital’s transition to the Cheshire Medical Center in 1973. At Cheshire Medical, she was appointed Head Nurse of the 3rd-floor 42-bed Medical Unit, with a staff of nearly 50 employees.

In 1987, the Cheshire County Heart Council of The American Heart Association chose her as the Valentine Dinner Dance Honored Guest for her extensive work with cardiac patients. She was given the Key to the City of Keene by then Mayor L. Edward Reyor, who issued a proclamation making Feb. 14 of that year “Margaret M. McDougle Day” in Keene and the song “Peg of My Heart” the city’s official Valentine’s Day song of the day in her honor. Governor John H. Sununu also issued a letter of commendation on behalf of the citizens of New Hampshire. More than 400 contributors donated over $15,000 to the Heart Council in her honor and the dinner dance was sold out with over 200 guests attending.

After retiring from Cheshire Medical Center, she continued to work for Dr. Kimball B. Temple at the Keene Clinic until the early 1990s.

Widowed in 1969, she shouldered all the responsibilities of raising five children. She was actively devoted to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and she maintained many meaningful friendships over the years with co-workers, neighbors, the friends of her children, and other associates. She volunteered for many charitable, spiritual, and civic organizations including the N.H. West Chapter of The American Red Cross, the Cheshire Medical Center Auxiliary and St. Bernard’s Church. Throughout her life, she won many awards in bowling and for several years she was a member of the Monday Night Bowling League at Yankee Lanes. She enjoyed a wide variety of spectator sports and was a dyed-in-the-wool Boston Red Sox fan.

Survivors include her sons: Stephen H. McDougle and his wife, Georgianna, of Las Cruces, N.M.; Kevin M. McDougle of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Jerome F. McDougle of Walpole; her daughter: Lucinda M. Zett of Peterborough; her brother: John P. Hurney and his wife, Beverly, of Newton Lower Falls, Mass.; her grandchildren: Patrick, Stephanie, Sean, Sarah, Jacob, Adam and Jared; and her great-grandchildren: Jett, Evelyn, Christina, Makayla, Clarrisa, Danica and Miles. She was pre-deceased by her youngest son, David Quentin McDougle of Port Richey, Fla., and her brother, Joseph H. Hurney, Jr. and his wife, Margaret, of Roxbury, Mass.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, at 11 a.m. in St. Margaret Mary Church, 33 Arch Street, Keene. A private burial is planned at a later date. Family and friends are invited to call at the Foley Funeral Home, 49 Court St., Keene on Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, donations may be made in her memory to the Margaret M. McDougle Nursing Scholarship, SAU 29, 193 Maple Avenue, Keene 03431, to benefit a Keene High School student pursuing a career in nursing.

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