Peggy (Cole) LettieriJuly 7, 1928 ~ February 4, 2016 (age 87)
Peggy Eva Cole Simonson Lettieri, of Bethel, CT journeyed to the Lord on February 4, 2016.
Peggy was born 87 years ago in a little place called Columbus, GA. She would eventually be one of eight children that lived to adulthood. Her mother Hilda was a practical nurse and her father, James, a renowned mechanic for race cars and airplanes. Peggy idolized her father and one of her favorite memories was her first ride in one of the airplanes he tested.
Eventually, Hilda moved the family north to find work during the Depression, settling in Brooklyn across from Prospect Park in a railroad apartment - ending up a family of six or seven in one apartment. Peggy, painfully shy, yet determined to make something of herself despite an eighth grade education, learned secretarial skills, and went to work at sixteen. She met her first husband, a handsome soldier camped in the park with his unit before shipping out to fight WWII. They had a son together, Ray Jr., but the couple divorced soon after his return.
Peggy eventually went to work at Columbia Records for the brilliant and talented VP of Marketing, Albert Charles (Buddy) Simonson. After only a couple of dates, Buddy introduced Peggy as his fiancé, to her great surprise. He swept Peggy off her feet, and they married in 1957 at City Hall. In the next few years Lisa and then Douglas (Cole) were born, Peggy sang amateur opera at Westport Country Playhouse and painted landscapes. Four years later, Peggy was a beautiful widow with two little children to care for.
She moved the family back to New York and partnered with her younger brother Chuck in his bar business. The No Name Bar was a Greenwich Village hole in the wall and deeply in debt. When things seemed to be going in the right direction, life intervened again, taking her beloved brother at too young an age, leaving a wife and three small children. Peggy was left to manage the crumbling business on her own.
Never one to give up, she brought in a partner, Danny Lettieri, and eventually they bought a couple of cold water brownstones together. In 1970, they were married at the Unitarian Church in New Canaan. They kept the business, and tried to live the suburban life in Connecticut. Eventually they moved to the Village to a townhouse Danny renovated. They never had it easy but through it all they knew they loved each other, sticking it out through poverty and prosperity, sickness and health, to the very end. Peggy became the No Name’s “Beautiful Doyenne” with whom half our customers were in love, and Danny was the “Don”, the other half fell for. Danny’s son Angelo took over the mantle in the 70’s and 80’s turning the No Name into a destination spot for the up and coming famous.
But Peggy didn’t want the No Name to be her only legacy. Over the years she continued painting beautiful landscapes, including the huge mural hanging in the bar. She raised her children to the sounds of every Broadway musical to date. Peggy went to college for the first time in her 40s and 50s to get her psychology degree and stopped only three credits shy. Danny fell ill and they retired to the country for the next ten years, when Peggy was again widowed. For the rest of her life, Peggy attended her AA meetings, painted, and read her beloved books. She traveled to Alaska, Michigan, Florida, and Jamaica with friends and family, enjoying every moment she could.
Peggy is survived by her eldest son Ray Cervone Jr., his wife Mimi, her daughter Lisa Lettieri, Lisa’s husband Angelo, and her son Cole Simonson, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
A memorial Service will be held at the First Congregational Church, 164 Deer Hill Ave., Danbury, CT Saturday February 13th, at 2:00. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers the family asks you to please donate to either the First Congregational Church in Danbury or The CT Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association www.ALZ.org/CT.