Longtime Whidbey resident Peggy Berto passed away in her sleep at the age of 97 at the adult family home, Angels On Whidbey, in Oak Harbor.
She was born in Colorado to Forest Furman Moore and Carrie Mathilda Dawirs. She grew up in California and as a young woman was employed in the wartime effort. She was asked on her first day if she knew anything about electrical wiring she of course said, “yes sure, no problem.” She proceeded to figure it out and installed electrical wiring on warships. She would later work at Boeing in Seattle using these skills.
While in California, she met her husband, Marvin Berto, who was a chief engineer for Foss Tugs. They moved to Seattle in the 1960s, where Peggy found a fulfilling career selling Real Estate. She loved matching the right property to the right person, and as a result was named Real Estate Agent of the Year for two years running.
They came to Whidbey and purchased 10 acres on Fish Road and developed it into a beautiful forested park land. When they moved to the island in the 1970s, Peggy was involved in the community development and planning and began to transform their property into low-income housing for the disadvantaged, using her electrical wiring skills and can-do attitude.
These skills came in very handy in 1994 with Peggy’s involvement with construction of the new Freeland Library. As a member of the Friends of the Freeland Library, Peggy contributed significantly to fundraising and troubleshooting as the library moved from Bettie B’s clothing store to its current location. She still came and checked on lighting and operations well into her 80s.
She had to slow down a little to fight and survive four or five bouts of cancer but said she was “too ornery to die.” Surviving family members include Wilma French, 93, of Colorado, who is the last surviving sibling of five. Peggy is also survived by many nephews and nieces.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. August 8, at Visser Funeral Home in Langley. A celebration of her life will be held at the Freeland Library after the memorial.