Katherine Rose York, known to friends as Peggy, was born July 25, 1935 to parents Lewis and Mary Ann Hakes in Cortland, New York. Shortly after Peggy’s birth her parents divorced and the children were scattered. While Peggy's older siblings went to live with other family members, she was sent to live in an orphanage. When she was 6 years old her mother remarried and regained custody of her children. After completing the 5th grade, Peggy was pulled out of school in order to work the family farm. Around the age of 10, she along with her mother and two of her brothers, began operating a food trailer and travelled the country with state fairs.
The food trailer became their home and Peggy found herself sleeping on the trailer’s counter most nights. By the time she was 13, the family settled in Michigan and Peggy began making a living working in various restaurants. It was in one of those restaurants, at the age of 16, Peggy met Elton Eugene York and married him 3 months later. The next several years saw Gene and Peggy crisscrossing the country looking for work and starting their family.
Kathy, their first child was born in Michigan in 1953. Mary and Debbie were born in New Mexico in 1954 and ‘56. Paula was born in Los Angeles in 1958 and it was on to New Jersey where Elton Jr was born in 1961. While traveling back to New Mexico, in 1961, the family car broke down. Elton received a tip from the mechanic about work in Houston, Texas so they decided to head south. After arriving in the hot and humid climate they decided they would settle in La Porte, mostly due to the cool weather around Sylvan Beach.
They spent many nights at Sylvan Beach sleeping in their station wagon until they found a home in town. Kenny, their last child was born there in 1962. The next 47 years brought ups and downs. Their family grew by 17 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and 9 great-great grandchildren. In 2009 Peggy lost her beloved husband of 57 years.
Through the years Peggy often found herself being a caregiver to both family and friends, even opening her home to them. Peggy’s children say that she was the backbone of their family and she will be missed dearly by family and friends.