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Shalabi, Peggy J.

Shalabi, Peggy J.

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SAUK CITY — Peggy J. Shalabi, 75, of Sauk City, Wis., died unexpectedly but peacefully at her new home in Dubuque, Iowa, after spending a lovely summer evening with her family.

She was born Peggy Jean Goltz on Nov. 5, 1944, in Green Bay, Wis., the third of four children born to her parents, Lloyd and Lucille Goltz.

Peggy was an active child and was fond of sharing the fact that she was the fastest runner in her grade school.

This athletic streak led her to pursue physical education as her major in college (the first person in her immediate family to attend), first at Suomi College in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and then at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

It was while attending UW-La Crosse that she met George Shalabi — the love of her life — whom she would eventually marry in 1967.

After marrying, Peggy and George both found jobs in the Sauk Prairie, Wis., area and moved there to begin their careers and start a family. They were life-long residents until last year, when they moved to Dubuque, Iowa, to be closer to their eldest daughter.

Peggy and George had two strong, adventurous daughters, Leslie and Samia, who are carrying on their parents’ legacy of warmth, hospitality and joy in their own unique ways.

Peggy worked in the Sauk-Prairie school district as a physical education teacher first at the Middle School, then Madison Street school and finally Spruce Street school, where she taught hundreds of kids over her 30+ years as an educator. In 1997 Peggy went back to school for her master’s degree in counseling and reinvented herself as a guidance counselor for the final six years as a teacher.

She was very dedicated to her students and had a special place in her heart for little ones going through a hard time — whether that was something as commonplace as losing a grandparent or more complex and challenging like abuse and neglect. For a short time, she volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate to help represent children involved in difficult custody or legal situations with their families.

As years went on, she never tired of running into her students or kids of her students or grandkids of her students while out and about in the community — the inevitable legacy of someone who teaches for so long in a small community.

She maintained very strong friendships with many women throughout her life that brought her meaning and great joy.

Peggy loved lots of things: colby cheese, supper club fish fries, reading, coffee with her girlfriends, travel, her “snow crown,” the cabin in Mountain, Wis., the Anna Maria Island gang, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Franzia Crisp White wine, sewing, Jeopardy, sitting on the porch, her foster cat, flowers, her daughters and, of course, her husband.

What she didn’t really love all that much were snakes and she was famously afraid of them, something which was fodder for lots of funny family stories through her years living in rural Wisconsin.

Peggy had her fair share of health challenges over the years: breast cancer, double knee replacement and later in life COPD, which made breathing and getting around challenging and put a lot of strain on her heart.

She lost her beloved husband, George, just six months ago in January, 2020, which also put a lot of strain on her heart, and it finally gave out, quickly and painlessly, in the night.

Peggy is survived by her two daughters, Leslie Shalabi (Mike Muench) of Dubuque, Iowa and Samia Shalabi (Jack Williams) of Madison, Wis., and Bali, Indonesia; as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and many life-long friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Lucille; her siblings, Kaylene, Helen and Bob; her niece, Michelle; nephew, Todd; as well as her husband of 52 years, George Shalabi.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Hope House of South Central Wisconsin (720 Ash St., Baraboo, WI 53913), an organization providing support to victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Because a traditional memorial service is challenging right now, the family is planning an outdoor reception with light refreshments at the east pavilion in MARION PARK in Prairie du Sac, Wis., on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friends are welcome to stop by for a visit, with masks and social distancing encouraged. Remembrances are being shared at 2:30 p.m., please bring your memories of Peggy to share with us.

Online condolences for Peggy’s family may be left at www.tristatecremationcenter.com.

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