Peggy Ann (Zesch) Laverty was born in the ranch home her parents built during the Great Depression in Mason, Texas. Her parents were Texas rancher Kurt Zesch and his beloved wife, Benellen. The date was April 5, 1934. As a young child, Peggy and her older brother, Gene, would make the 4-mile journey to school on horseback due to a short gas supply. They would carefully walk the horses up the first hill to appease their mother, but once over the crest, they raced the horses the rest of the way.
Later in life, her father, Kurt, who loved to hunt — and wished to avoid the Texas summer heat — purchased a ranch in southwestern Colorado. He became one of Pagosa Springs’ first snowbirds and he brought his teenage daughter with him.
Peggy graduated from Mason High School in 1951, where she was active in cheerleading, country dances and church activities. She attended Texas Christian University for a short while, but ultimately found her way back to Pagosa in her early 20s to work as a second-grade teacher. She traded her pony in for a fancy little convertible, which caught the attention of a young man, William (Bill) Laverty, working for the U.S. Forest Service as a civil engineer.
Peggy and Bill were married in 1957, back in Texas, but soon found themselves journeying to new areas following Bill’s Forest Service assignments. They lived in several locations in western Colorado, California and New Mexico. During this time, they started a family, which included their two sons, Kurt and Steve Laverty, and their daughter, Kitzel (Laverty) Farrah.
After her husband retired from the Forest Service, Peggy and Bill settled permanently in Pagosa to manage the KOA Pagosa Riverside Campground and raise their three children. They were also founding members of the Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pagosa Springs. Peggy had a passion for gardening. After remodeling the 100-year-old farmhouse, she planted a magnificent garden and began mowing the L-Z Ranch.
Her home and heart were always open to family and friends. The old farmhouse was always a beehive of activity. Her children remained in the area and blessed her with 15 grandchildren. Grandma Peggy was “that grandmother”; she was a peacemaker and a protector, and the glue holding together the Laverty clan. Her home was open to all those looking for cookies, sleepovers and hugs. She would prepare any meal you wanted, as long it was past 10 a.m. — you were on your own for breakfast. She also had a houseful for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
In their golden years, Peggy and Bill continued the family tradition of snowbirding, dividing their time between Pagosa and Mason. Peggy lost Bill after 63 years of marriage on Aug. 26, 2020. He took a piece of Peggy’s heart with him and on Aug. 24, she joined him in paradise.
Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, William C. Laverty, and her daughter-in-law Danna Laverty. Peggy is survived by her brother, Gene Zesch, and his wife, Patsy; her children, Kurt Laverty, Steve Laverty and his wife, Kim; and Kitzel Farrah and her husband Derek; her 15 grandchildren and two, soon to be four, great-grandchildren.
Peggy will be laid to rest at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mason, Texas, on Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. She chose the church she was baptized, confirmed and married in — this was her home.