Regehr, Margaret Jane “Peggy” Unruh (1928-2018)
Margaret Jane “Peggy” Unruh Regehr: writer and advocate for women; born 12 November 1928 to Abram A. (1903-1988) and Annie (Enns) Unruh (1900-1972) in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada. She was the eldest of five children. In 1951, she married Walter Regehr, and the couple later had three children. Peggy was a strong advocate for women in the church and was active in working with the Mennonite Central Committee and other organizations to promote the contributions of women. For the last 15 years of her life, Peggy suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, and she died in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 27 September 2018.
Together with her Mennonite Brethren missionary parents and sisters, Peggy Unruh moved to India in 1935, where she attended Breeks Memorial School, far from her family. Her brother was born in India. In 1942, with the threat of a possible Japanese invasion looming, Peggy and her family returned to Winkler, where they lived for the next three and a half years. When their parents and younger siblings returned to India in early 1946, Peggy and one of her sisters remained in Canada to finish high school.
Following their graduation, Peggy Unruh and her sister attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, United States. There she saw women in leadership, something that profoundly influenced her in later life. Following her graduation three years later, she obtained work as a high school teacher in Winkler. She met Walter Regehr during her visits to relatives in Winnipeg, and the two were married on 18 August 1951. Their daughter Janet was born in 1952, followed by their sons Keith and Gerald in 1955 and 1960.
In 1955, Peggy Regehr and her family moved to Winnipeg, where Walter obtained a teaching job. They later joined the Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church, where they continued to attend for many years.
Peggy Regehr was an outspoken advocate for women in the church, whether she was giving support and encouragement to abused women and children or inspiring women to persevere in pursuing a greater role in the church. She began to collect books and other materials on feminist themes, including theological works. In the late 1970s, she enrolled in theology and Biblical studies courses at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College, where she had the opportunity to write about the role of women in the early church and to help influence the lives of other students at the college.
Following her graduation, Peggy Regehr obtained work at the Mennonite Central Committee as the organization’s first staff member for Women’s Concerns. The job involved giving presentations to various groups around the country, discussing issues including family violence and abuse. Hearing people’s stories was also an important part of her work.
In the early 2000s, Peggy Regehr began to struggle with memory loss, and she received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease some time later. In 2012, she and Walter moved from their house to an assisted living complex in Winnipeg, but by the next year Peggy needed full time care, and she moved to a nursing home. On 26 September 2018, she developed a fever following pneumonia, and she died the next day.
Margaret Jane “Peggy” Unruh Regehr was a dedicated advocate for women whose work helped to promote greater participation in the church. Through her writing and her support of people in communities around the country, she left a legacy of care and concern for others to follow.
Friends Funeral Service. "Peggy Jane Unruh Regehr, November 12, 1928 – September 27, 2018." https://friendsfs.ca/book-of-memories/3618860/Unruh-Regehr-Peggy/service-details.php.
Dave F. Loewen Home Page. "Walter Regehr." Web. 02 April 2019. http://daveloewen.com/genealogyklassen/html/fam/fam00886.html.
Dave F. Loewen Home Page. "Abraham A. Unruh." Web. 02 April 2019. http://daveloewen.com/genealogyklassen/html/fam/fam00377.html.
Dave F. Loewen Home Page. "Anna Enns." Web. 02 April 2019. http://daveloewen.com/genealogyklassen/html/fam/fam00377.html.
Longhurst, John. "Peggy Unruh Regehr: Advocate for Women." Mennonite Historian 45 (March 2019): 7.
|Date Published||April 2019|
Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan. "Regehr, Margaret Jane “Peggy” Unruh (1928-2018)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2019. Web. 8 Apr 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Regehr,_Margaret_Jane_%E2%80%9CPeggy%E2%80%9D_Unruh_(1928-2018)&oldid=164400.
Huebert, Susan. (April 2019). Regehr, Margaret Jane “Peggy” Unruh (1928-2018). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 8 April 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Regehr,_Margaret_Jane_%E2%80%9CPeggy%E2%80%9D_Unruh_(1928-2018)&oldid=164400.
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