Ida Elsa Staerck (née Wright) known as “Peggy”

Published: 18 Jun 2019

Time spent at school: 1930 - 1934

Date passed away: January 11th 2013

Ida Elsa Staerck (nee Wright) 

03/09/1917 – 11/01/2013 

Ida Elsa Staerck (n’ee Wright) known as “Peggy”  – 03/09/1917 – 11/01/2013

Attended Godalming Grammar School 1930-34

Peggy was born and grew up in nearby Farncombe. She always loved school and on winning a scholarship in 1930, she was thrilled to be among the first pupils to attend the new Godalming Grammar School. Fond memories of her days at the school always remained, and she maintained contact with friends that she had made there for the rest of her life. Her closest friend Brenda Evans (nee Stevens) was the remaining one of these old school pals until sadly she too passed away in April last year. They had written to each other for over eighty years.

She excelled in the sporting opportunities that became available to her at the school and her school reports book lists these as follows:

Hockey, Captain of School X1 & Page House X1Teams

Netball, Senior School Team and Page House Team

Cricket, Captain of School first X1 and House Teams

Rounders, School Team

Tennis, School Team

Page House Athletics Team


Page House Lacrosse team

She became Page House Captain, and enjoyed taking part of the activities of the Dramatic Society’s Entertainers Section, the Garden Section, the Science Society and became a Commander in the Mallory Section Girls.

In September 1934 Peggy’s final school report tells that she

“ …gained Matriculation exemption on the General Schools examination, with ‘distinctions’ in French and Mathematics and ‘credits’ in English, Geography and Biology. She is to be congratulated on such a good result.”

On leaving school, Peggy first worked in the Guildford telephone exchange, but soon moved into the Civil Service and worked in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Whitehall, London.

When war broke out she moved to the war department services located at Princes Risborough, where amongst other things she worked on interpretation of aerial photographs.

In 1943 Peggy married her handsome and dashing Lieutenant Leslie Staerck, and on her birthday in 1944 gave birth to her first son Christopher John, later followed by daughter Jacqueline Mary in 1947, and Richard Henry in 1952.

The deepest sadness of her life was when Christopher died in 1949 in an accident which for the rest of her life she would blame herself and her God, and could forgive neither.

In the late fifties she returned to work in the Civil Service, working in the Pay Office she enjoyed making good use of her mathematics, and latterly in the local military Education Office where she also found delight in running library section until she retired.

Her husband Leslie died of cancer in 1973. She was content and busy with life on her own for many years until at 80 she decided it was time she downsized and moved from our large family house to the other end of the village into a small bungalow – along with Henry her character full black-and-white cat. To her surprise she and Henry loved the house and her new smaller environment.

In her late eighties the ghastly dementia began to show its merciless progress and overwhelmed so much of the character of Peggy we had known and loved.

In February 2011 she moved into the caring hands of the wonderful staff at Green Gables Nursing home in Grayshott – they gave Peggy skilled and heartfelt care with endless patience.

Overtaken by her illness and in her 96th year Peggy died in Green Gables on 11th January 2013.

Peggy is survived by her daughter Jacqueline who lives in London with her husband Brian Young, and her son Richard who lives in Norfolk with his wife Amanda.