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Margaret (Morse) TirrellMay 7, 1924 ~ April 17, 2017 (age 92)
Margaret (Peg) Tirrell, 92, passed peacefully to be with her savior early April 17, 2017 after a 7 year bout with Alzheimer’s Disease. Peg was born in Ridgefield Park, NJ on May 7, 1924 to Roland (Dodo) and Helen (GG) Morse. Peg graduated from Colby Jr. College (Colby Sawyer College) in 1943, Glassboro State College (Rowan University) with a teaching degree in 1945 and a Masters in Remedial Reading from Teacher’s College of Columbia University in 1946. She met her husband, Robert (Doc) Tirrell on a blind date and following WWII they were married in 1948. Peg taught first grade in Bergenfield, NJ while her husband finished his dental degree at NYU. They moved from Bergenfield to Cresskill, NJ in 1951 where they lived until Doc’s retirement in 1991. While raising 3 children, Scott, Barbara, and Gail, Peg was active in the Tenafly Woman’s Club, Evening Department, Girl Scouts, Cresskill PTA and the Reformed Church on the Hill where she taught Sunday School, headed up the primary department and was the Sunday school treasurer.
Doc & Peg were introduced to square dancing when they took a young widow friend out to the Hackensack Y for socialization. Although she didn’t continue, Doc & Peg fell in love with the activity and continued to dance and promote Square and round Dancing the rest of their lives. They began cueing Round Dancing in 1960 when the local Square Dance caller was transferred out the area. They were instrumental in the beginnings of Northern New Jersey Square Dance Association and edited the local square dance magazine, Grand Square, for over 25 years. They helped start the Northern New Jersey Round Dance Council and served as chair and treasurer many times. They were trustees of LEGACY (chair from 1981-85, 1997-99, executive secretary from 2000-03) and represented the National Square Dance Campers Association on the board of Arts-Dance. They were charter members of Tenakill Twirlers (NJ), the Garden State Square Dance Campers, NSDCA chapter 001(NJ), and MontShire Campin’ Squares, NSDCA chapter 181 (VT/NH). Through the work of LEGACY, ROUNDALAB was formed and they were one of its Founders. They served on the Board of Directors, secretary of the Board of Directors and Executive Secretary of ROUNDALAB, bringing it from an all paper organization into the computer age. Peg has served ROUNDALAB as Historian for many years as well as on other committees. When Doc retired, they moved to Vermont and brought the ROUNDALAB office here continuing to act as Executive Secretary until 1992. Active in the New England Square Dance community, they have cued for many local clubs, were secretary/treasurer for Vermont Association of Round Dance Leaders, edited the VAWSSDC magazine, Gazette, served on the board and were life time members of the Square Dance Foundation of New England. They were honored with the Lucarini Award (1965 – NJ), Yankee Clipper award (2004 - New England), inducted into the Square Dance Hall of Fame of New England, ROUNDALAB Silver Circle (1992), Silver Spur (national recognition of service to square dancing – 1995), and the LEGACY Heritage Award (national recognition of promotion of the square dance activity – 2002). Doc & Peg taught their own choreography at over 40 National Square Dance Conventions, 12 Canadian National Square Dance Festivals, over 25 New England Square and Round Dance Conventions, and many National Square Dance Campers International Camporees. They have cued rounds for many square and round dance clubs in NJ, NY, ME, VT, and NH and called many square dance fun nights in NJ and NY.
In Peg’s spare time in Vermont, she was a volunteer at the Fairbanks Museum, sang in the choir at North Congregational Church (now United Community Church), served on the mission committee and hosted coffee hour at the North Congregational Church. She assisted her daughter as a Girl Scout leader for the Waterford troops and was the MapleLeaf service unit’s fall product and cookie chair and even ran the local cookie cupboard for several years.
Peg leaves behind her 3 children: Scott (Deb) Tirrell, San Bernardino, CA; Barbara Connelly, Lower Waterford, and Gail (Christopher) Vaucher, Las Cruces, NM; 4 grandchildren; Jeff (Hollie) Tirrell, CA; Ryan (Cristina) Tirrell, CA; Paul Connelly, MI; Crystal Connelly, PA and one precious great grandchild, Ollie Tirrell.
She is predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Doc Tirrell, son-in-law, Jim Connelly and grandson, Joshua Connelly.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Peg through donations to the charity of your choice related to the activity that you and Peg shared. She was involved in so many it is hard to choose just one. A Celebration of Peg’s life will be observed on Friday, May 12, 2017 at the United Community Church, 1325 Main St., St. Johnsbury, VT at 4 pm.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.saylesfh.com.