A beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, Margaret C. Cassano of South Wellfleet, known as Peggy, died peacefully on Feb. 2, 2024 at Brightview’s Wellspring Village in Shelton, Conn., surrounded by her children. She was 97.
Peggy was born on Feb. 25, 1926 in Long Island City, N.Y. to Edward and Emily Cull. She and her parents were devoted to each other. After her father died in 1957, she moved her mother nearby to ensure that she was properly cared for.
Peggy graduated from Julia Richman High School in New York City at 16. After studying at the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School, she became an executive secretary at IBM and worked for IBM’s first female vice president, Ruth Leach. Leach’s memoir, Among Equals: The Rise of IBM’s First Woman Corporate Vice President, chronicles her role in opening more managerial jobs in the computer industry to women.
Peggy married World War II veteran and fellow IBM employee Louis J. Cassano in 1950. Lou spent his career at IBM, while Peggy devoted her energies to raising their family of five children in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. She was also dedicated to volunteer work and had a special interest in nursing, devoting many hours at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
In the years before Peggy and Lou retired, she was an energetic, trend-setting woman: she embraced natural childbirth in the 1950s, championed the value of regular exercise in the 1960s, took up aerobics in the 1970s, and gave yoga and tai chi a go in the 1980s. She was also the life of any party she attended and enjoyed hosting at her own home.
Moving to South Wellfleet in 1991, Peggy and Lou treasured the beauty, peace, and nature of the Outer Cape. Their home became Cassano central for family gatherings.
During her Wellfleet years, Peggy volunteered at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis and at the Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown. She was also a lifelong church volunteer, most recently at St. Mary of the Harbor Episcopal Church in Provincetown.
Peggy was also a lifelong learner, curious about everything. She particularly enjoyed the National Park Service ranger talks about the natural world, and she read the New York Times every day. For as long as her children can remember, she was always clipping newspaper articles to share with her family.
Lou died in 2013 after 63 years of marriage. Peggy moved to Shelton, Conn. in 2019 to be closer to her family. She continued to embrace life fully.
In 2023, she moved to Brightview’s Wellspring Village, where she made friends and was cared for and loved by the skilled staff. Her family expressed gratitude to those who became like family as they joined “Team Peggy.”
While she continued to make new friends at the end of her life, Peggy never stopped missing her home in Wellfleet.
Peggy is survived by her five children and their partners: Maggie Cassano and Tom Way of Shelton, Conn.; Pat Cassano and Ron Booker of Ithaca, N.Y.; Lou and Sue Cassano of Southbury, Conn.; Ed Cassano of South Wellfleet; and Rob and Lorraine Cassano of North Salem and Middletown, N.Y. She is also survived by six grandchildren and their partners: Samantha Cassano and Matt Bihler of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; Kalila Booker-Cassano and Byron Perpetua of Arlington; Louis J. Cassano III of Belmont; Rob Cassano and Susannah Fears of Stamford, Conn.; Tara Rose Cassano of Hilliard, Ohio; and Andrew Cassano of Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
Calling hours and funeral services took place on Feb. 9 and 10 in Wellfleet and at St. Mary of the Harbor, Provincetown, and were followed by a private burial.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Peggy’s memory may be made to the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, coastalstudies.org, or to St. Mary of the Harbor Church in Provincetown, stmaryoftheharbor.org.