Obituary: Peggie Wiseman |

Obituary: Peggie Wiseman

Peggie Wiseman
Peggie Wiseman
Provided Photo

July 4, 1935 – November 24, 2022

Peggie Jean Wiseman (née Cox), a real Yankee Doodle Dandy born on July 4, 1935, passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022, at Saint Mary’s Regional Hospital in Reno, Nevada. She was born on a holiday and left us on a holiday – a bittersweet bookend for a life lived in learning, laughing often, helping others and finding the joy and humor in the world around her.

Born in Hanford, California to Curtis and Virginia Cox, Peggie was raised in South America and spent time in Ecuador and Panama. Her family was in Panama during World War II, where her mother worked as a telephone operator and her father was charged with guarding the Panama Canal from sabotage. Returning home to California, she spoke Spanish fluently and made many lifelong friends at Corcoran High School, from which she graduated in 1953.

That fall, she attended Fresno State College, performing as drum majorette for the Marching Bulldogs. That same year, her only sibling – a sister, Pamela Jo – was born, motivating Peggie to return to Corcoran and help with the colicky baby. It was while attending College of the Sequoias there that she met the love of her life, James Casper Wiseman, of Tulare, California. They married on September 4, 1954, soon moving to Fresno, where Jim completed his degree. Their son, Michael Casper Wiseman, was born in 1955 with first daughter, Jami Laurie Wiseman, following in 1957. As the tribe expanded, the Wisemans moved to what would become the family dairy in Tulare on Avenue 232, where Jim worked and then took over operations. Their youngest daughter, Janine Lee Wiseman, was born in 1963.

During those years, Peggie raised the children, provided Spanish translation for the local hospital, and attended the Methodist Church in Tulare with her family. In 1975, she returned to Fresno State to complete her B.A. in psychology, adding a Master’s in social work a year later. For 35 years, she served her community as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), opening a counseling practice in Tulare with her business partner and longtime friend, Michael Schaffer. When her mother passed away in 1978, she welcomed her sister to her brood and became a “second mother” to Pam.

In 1981, Peggie and Jim built their dream retirement home at Tahoe Donner in Truckee, California. That home became the source of decades of joy and celebration, serving as the family’s beloved hub for every holiday, past and future. In 1993, Jim retired from actively managing the dairy and Peggie moved her practice to Truckee, where after observing an increase in the number of children with autism, she began to research and specialize in assisting families supporting loved ones on the spectrum. She worked with children diagnosed with Asperger’s at local schools and created new approaches to treatment and support. Meanwhile, she helped found the Truckee dance company InnerRhythms and created the “Babes on the Bus” fundraiser for PEO, which subsidized scholarships for local women in college. In 2011, at the age of 76, she retired from her practice, but remained active with anti-hunger programs and the local church with her husband Jim.

In later years, dementia would steal much of her famous drive, but never her wit or kindness. Former patients would stop her in the street to tell her how she had changed, shaped, and even saved their lives. Even without memory, she always managed to make them feel love and affinity in the moment.

Peggie leaves behind her husband, James, and daughter, Jami, but was preceded in death by her son, Michael, and daughter, Janine. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren include Michael’s daughter, Melissa, her husband, Ryan, and their children, Presley and Ben; Michael’s son, James, and his wife, Whitney; Jami’s son Jonas, his wife, Cyndie, and their two sons, Caden and Dean; Jami’s son, Lucas and his wife, Suzee, with their two daughters, Rylee and Finlee; and Janine’s daughter, Megan, and her fiancé, Aaron. Her sister, Pam, and her husband, Fred, and their two children and spouses, Virginia and Miles, and Alec and Wyatt also grieve at her passing.

She loved elephants, chocolate, her family, and the sound of the ocean. She never met a person she wouldn’t try to help. She designed the house in which she and Jim lived in until her death, conjuring a cathedral ceiling with wonderful, unique windows that allowed for unrestricted gaze of the trees and sky. She loved to watch the snow fall and listen to the wind blowing through the trees. Fittingly, her last full sentences to her family were “I just want everyone to be happy” and “I have to go.”

Peggie lived the kind of life that people hope to live, but rarely do. She was beloved.

There will be a graveside service at Home of Peace Cemetery in Porterville, California. A Celebration of Life will be held in Truckee, California on December 9, at 11:00 AM at the Truckee Lutheran Presbyterian Church (TLPC). In place of flowers, consider a donation to Sierra Senior Services or the North-Tahoe Truckee Homeless Services

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