Funeral services for Peggy Jean Kissinger, 90, Ozark, Missouri, formerly of West Plains, Missouri, will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, October 20, 2023, at the Langston Street Chapel of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
Peggy Kissinger baked the world’s best rum cakes. Of course, as a Baptist, she would always explain to the liquor store employee why she needed gallons of rum. She loved giving the cakes to family and friends, and she often donated cakes for auctions to support her many charitable organizations. Her cakes weren’t just tasty, they were symbolic of her widespread love for family and community.
Peggy entered this world in Ash Flat, Arkansas on March 10, 1933. Born to Merle and Mabel Fowler, she followed two wonderful brothers, Leman and JW. After her own mother’s passing, her Dad married Freida and added to the family were siblings Freida Jean, Gilbert, Sybil, Waymon and Keith. Peggy helped raise these younger siblings as if they were her own kids.
At the age of 18, she found the love of her life, G.V. Kissinger. He would love her for the rest of his life. Their marriage saw several moves and babies—they dearly loved those babies. Rodney was born in Batesville, Arkansas, and Bruce joined the family 2 years later in Pontiac, Michigan. Son James came along after they moved to West Plains, Missouri. Then, there was Cathy. What can we say? Cathy had her Dad wrapped around her little finger, and Peggy always showed off Cathy as the cutest thing anyone had ever seen. Peggy and G.V. worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for their kids.
As life moved forward, Peggy and G.V.’s family grew. They welcomed daughters-in-law Roxane (James) and Anita (Rod). Adding great joy to life were six grandkids Matt, Andrew, Amie, Amber, Alicia, and Erin, along with three great grands–Piper, Kaden and Jack. It was a loving and nurturing family.
That family would be tested when on April 18th, 1987 G.V. lost his battle with cancer. He left Peggy much too soon, but he did not leave her alone. He left her with a caring family that would sustain her for the next 36 years.
While Peggy loved her own kids, her home was always open to others–the doors were literally never locked. Friends felt free to visit her unannounced, and you could always expect a slice of her famous rum cake.
Their home was always filled with family at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but you didn’t need a holiday to walk into the warm arms of a Peggy hug. Closely followed with her saying,
“I love you a bushel and a peck A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep About you, about you.”
Peggy’s life was focused on others. She worked tirelessly to ease the burdens of families as a caseworker for the Division of Family Services and later as an Employment Specialist for the
Division of Employment Security. For many years following retirement, Peggy used her joy and spunk to serve as a substitute teacher for West Plains Public Schools.
Along with loving her family, Peggy also loved her community. Her many areas of service included being a Rotary President, a Paul Harris Fellow, Library Board member, Park Board member and Missouri State University-West Plains supporter. Her community was not just local but also international as she was a foreign exchange parent to five students from Sweden, Brazil, Finland and Turkey. When Peggy moved from her home of almost 60 years in West Plains to The Baptist Home in Ozark, MO, the family found more than 25 plaques of achievement that had been presented to Peggy for her many years of community service. Her most coveted accolade was a Honorary Associate of Arts from Missouri State University-West Plains.
The last few years of Peggy’s life were a struggle as the grip of dementia took hold. She completely forgot her famous rum cake recipe. However, as memories grew cold, she continued to enjoy the warm embrace of family and friends. It was as if they were returning the many hugs she had shared through the years.
On October 14th, 2023, Peggy Jean Kissinger received her last earthly hug and walked into the loving arms of God. I’m sure she then heard the words she had so many times spoken herself—”I love you a bushel and a peck. A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”
The family will receive their friends from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m., Friday, at the Langston Street Chapel of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home. Burial will be at Oak Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to MSU West Plains and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main, West Plains, MO 65775. Online condolences may be left at www.robertsondrago.com