Beloved JSU employee ‘Miss Peggy’ dies at 86

Longtime JSU employee Peggy Key, affectionately known as ‘Miss Peggy’ by the JSU community, died earlier this week at the age of 86. (Courtesy of K. L. Brown Funeral Home)Longtime JSU employee Peggy Key, affectionately known as ‘Miss Peggy’ by the JSU community, died earlier this week at the age of 86. (Courtesy of K. L. Brown Funeral Home)

Angelica Luna, Correspondent

Peggy Key, a long time employee of Jacksonville State University’s dining services, died on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the age of 86, surrounded by her family.

During her 32 years working with Jacksonville State dining, Key, known by students as “Miss Peggy,” would continuously check on students, make sure not a soul went hungry and even pay for meals out of her own pocket to feed anyone in need.

Many students who came to the Theron Montgomery Building would make their way through long lines just to speak to her. Fellow employees would look forward to shifts or lunch breaks because they knew she would be there to engage in conversation and make them laugh. 

“Try to find a picture where she isn’t hugging someone,” said Key’s daughter, Becky, pictured left. (Photo courtesy of Becky Key)

“She definitely pushed me to work hard and be the best I could be, but was also kind, sweet, and like another grandmother to me,” said her former coworker Taylor Hegenheiser.

Hegenheiser celebrated a memory with Miss Peggy about a busy day at work.

“I can remember when nobody wanted to come to my line because they had to hug Miss Peggy,” he said. “There were days she had to make people come to my line because hers was so full.”

During a discussion, Miss Peggy’s daughter, Becky Key, spoke passionately about her mother’s personality.

“She was truly the perfect grandmother to all kids,” said Becky Key. “She took anyone under her wing.”

Becky Key spoke of memories between her mother and students she met during work, and how her familiarity with trials made her the right person to bring kindness to those who were struggling.

“She was a true example of an angel on earth; a beautiful soul and precious spirit,” she said.

Peggy Key was a two-time breast cancer survivor. Here, she can be seen adding her name to a wall with other survivors and loved ones affected by the disease. (Photo courtesy of Becky Key)

Miss Peggy was a two-time breast cancer survivor. She is remembered by Becky Key to have always kept a “warm smile on her face.”

She is remembered and celebrated by many students on social media as someone who was always there to talk, hug and brighten days.

Her family will be celebrating her life through loving memorials, but encourage those who would like to express their support to send memorials to a Breast Cancer support organization, Venecia’s Foundation at P.O. Box 572 Piedmont, Alabama 36272.

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1 Comment on "Beloved JSU employee ‘Miss Peggy’ dies at 86"

  1. Condolences to the family on the loss of Ms. Peggy. She certainly shared in making JSU the wonderfully friendly campus it is! She will be missed.

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