Cover photo for Margaret Merrell's Obituary
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1927 Margaret (Peggy) N. Merrell 2024

Margaret Merrell

November 5, 1927 — March 8, 2024

Margaret "Peggy" Nix Merrell died peacefully in her home in Albuquerque, NM on March 8, 2024.

Peggy was born on November 5, 1927 in St Louis, MO but spent most of her childhood in Winnetka, IL next to her cherished Lake Michigan. The youngest of four children, Peggy was a precocious and voracious reader who, despite frequent wintertime illnesses, excelled at school.

Peggy headed off to Smith College in the last days of World War II, where she studied history. By her telling, one of the best things about Smith was the returning GIs at nearby Amherst College, one of whom became the love of her life. Edward "Ned" Merrell and Peggy got married in the summer of 1948, right after they graduated from college.

The newlyweds moved to Bloomington, IN, where Ned went to business school and Peggy worked at a factory to pay the bills. In 1949, they moved to suburban St Louis, where they raised their five daughters. Peggy was active with the League of Women Voters, the Smith alumnae association, and school parent groups. When her youngest daughter started school, Peggy began her ten-year career as a public school teacher in a rural district outside of St. Louis. The family enjoyed canoeing, camping, playing tennis, traveling, and spending time with extended family at Ned's family's Michigan cottage, where Peggy got to be with her lake.

In 1985, Ned and Peggy began a new phase of their lives by moving to Albuquerque. They enjoyed exploring the Southwest, visiting friends and family in the Midwest, and being near their eldest daughter and her growing family. Peggy worked at the University of New Mexico, where she eventually became an editor at the business school until her retirement.

Ned and Peggy moved into the La Vida Llena retirement community in 2004 due to Ned's changing health. Peggy became involved with the newsletter, library, and Scrabble players. She supported Ned until he was no longer able to live in their apartment, and she visited him daily until his death in 2013. Peggy continued to travel to visit her children, including a grand tour of the Midwest in 2017 to mark her 90th birthday, until spring 2020.

Once the pandemic began, Peggy remained in La Vida Llena, where she received visits from family and took short walks outside. In the past few years, she found joy in her growing number of great-grandchildren and keeping track of their activities. Her good nature and humor made her a favorite among the many people who helped take care of her.

Peggy remained consistent in her love of books and family throughout her life. She passed on a love of Jane Austen to her daughters and extended family, which culminated in a presentation to the Jane Austen Society of North America in 2000. She was a dedicated archivist of family history, recording scores of stories from her life and family by hand and, with lots of patient technical support from her daughters, on the computer.

Peggy is survived by her five daughters Molly Madden and Barbara, Sally, Ruthie, and Katie Merrell, sons-in-law Richard Madden and Ely Leichtling, ten grandchildren (Jennifer, Melissa, Ellen,Trey, Cindy, Sam, Becky, Alec, Laurie, and Julie), and five great-grandchildren (Josephine, Rowan, Ward, Lyle, Maggie, and Grace). She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Ned and her three siblings, Clare, William, and Eric Nix. Her ashes will be interred next to Ned's overlooking Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.

The family is planning a private celebration of Peggy's life.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Peggy's honor to the LaVida Llena Employee Appreciation Fund (via check to the LVL Residents Association with memo to Employee Appreciation Fund, mailed to LaVida Llena, 10501 Lagrima de Oro NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111), the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation (, or your favorite education nonprofit.


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