Around Town: May 30


Elizabeth Breen of Charlotte received a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from College of the Holy Cross on May 24.

Brynn Hutchins of Charlotte was named to the dean’s list at the University of Vermont for the spring semester.

Isa Kaplan of Charlotte received a bachelor’s degree with a major in electrical and computer engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s 155th commencement on May 10.


Margaret Christine Hargrave Kurt (Peggy)

Margaret Christine Hargrave Kurt (Peggy) was born May 25, 1922, the youngest child of Christine Margaret Hembpt and Philip Henry Hargrave. Believing in reincarnation, today she is enjoying life as an eagle, following 100 plus years of a full life. Her mother’s family were farmers and bridge builders of German descent and her father’s family were English Irish builders who constructed many of the brownstone buildings in Harlem. During the Depression they lost their home her father built in Bayside. She moved with her mother to the Hembdt family farm in upstate New York to care for her ailing grandmother. A fond memory of this relocation was a special fourth-grade math teacher who took an interest in her abilities. This friendly intervention was life-changing, strengthening her self-image and view of education.

At age 15 she moved back to Bayside. She loved being again near the ocean and the family members and friends she had missed. She also reunited with her childhood friend Hank Pimm. They became high school sweet hearts. They were married in 1943 while Hank was on a brief leave from the coast guard during World War 2. Tragically Hank was killed at sea in the Pacific theater. He had been struck directly by a Japanese kamikaze plane while on board his ship. She recalled that at the very moment Hank was killed, she experienced an overwhelming feeling of dread and collapsed while walking home. She said she knew something terrible had happened to Hank. After recovering from the grief of Hank’s death, she joined the Cadet Nurse Corp and began her training as a nurse.

She later enrolled in New York University where she met and married Karl Kurt. Together, on Long Island, they raised four children: Karl Michael (Mike), Kristy, Nancy and Kerry. As luck had it, a house became available on East Bayberry Road across the canal that led to the Great South Bay from her brother Herb. Uncle Herb’s was a great swimming destination. The family’s home was in walking distance to the Bayberry Yacht club and Bayberry Beach and Tennis club where the kids could have fun with friends and burn off energy during the summer. During those years, all her Hargrave brothers and sisters and their families lived in fairly close proximity, as did their Kurt grandparents for frequent family visits and reunions.

In 1969, her family moved to Vermont when her husband was hired as a member of the University of Vermont development team. She had the opportunity to study contraceptive medicine at the medical school, a field of study she strongly believed in. During this time, she continued her education at UVM attaining her master’s degree in counseling. She encouraged her children to join the Lake Champlain Swim Club and the Burlington Tennis Club where they made many friends. With her desire to return to a nursing career and with her master’s degree in hand Margaret was hired as the head of nursing at the student health center. Together Margaret and Karl enjoyed lunches in the Waterman Building and swimming in the university’s natatorium during lunch breaks. They also enjoyed driving around Vermont exploring their new state and involving themselves in local politics. She ran for the Vermont Senate at one point enlisting her children to go door to door with her. At every opportunity she would tell whoever was in earshot to notify the governor to stop erecting buildings and roads without plans to prevent all the phosphorus and waste from ending up in her cherished lake.

When she heard that UVM was offering a nurse practitioner program she applied and was accepted, becoming one of the first nurse practitioners in Vermont. She used this knowledge to care for university students. After leaving with an active interest in politics, she was hired by the Vermont Nurse Association as their Montpelier lobbyist. During this time, she helped expand the nurse practitioner role in Vermont. Margaret went on to work for the Vermont Professional Standards Review Organization, evaluating Vermont hospitals and nursing homes to ensure they were maintaining health care standards. In recognition of her long and active nursing career she was recognized at the 75th UVM Nursing Anniversary ceremony.

Always needing to be near the beauty of water and the many activities it provided for her kids, in 1973 she found a home in Charlotte on the shore of Lake Champlain. She loved her home in Charlotte and her life working and furthering her education and her time with her family. She was always there encouraging her children’s further development. She took an active role in their lives frequently reminding us in words and deeds to always be positive, say yes to opportunities, work hard, continue to advance their education, keep their heads up, learn from their mistakes and enjoy life. She also taught her children to cook from scratch, eat plenty of tomatoes and avoid prepared foods, as well as the importance of regular exercise, especially swimming.

In retirement she worked at Shelburne Museum educating the public about its history, a subject she has always studied and discussed. She also enjoyed her Klifa club friends, Charlotte seniors, Red Hat ladies and fellow Edge swimmers, an activity she continued into her 101st year.

Many of the medical doctors she had worked with and friends lobbied to pass Act 39, patient end-of-life choices. Margaret believed very strongly that everyone who met its requirements should be able to decide when to end their life. She also believed it should be expanded to include end-of-life directions that specify an individual’s wishes in case of severe dementia. One of the other limiting stipulations as it now stands is that the individual has to be able to self-administer the medication. She was able to embrace this legislation as her body was failing on Feb. 2, 2023, eight months into her 101st year, with family and hospice nurses and a social worker present.
Her loving husband Karl died in 1990 of melanoma, a cancer that is now treatable. She is predeceased by her sisters and brothers: Eugenie, Dorothy, Herbert, Irvin, and Elmer, and dear nieces and nephews: Mary Grace, and twin sisters Lynn and Debbie, sisters Ann Marie and Jane, and brothers Ken and Peter. Though outliving her husband, siblings and friends was a major drawback to a long life, She was thankful to have her children and grandchildren near to enjoy.

Left behind are her children Karl Michael Kurt, Nancy Hargrave, Kristy and Jeff Spengler and grandchildren Reid, Nick and Sarah Spengler, Kerry Kurt and her sons Keenan Kurt and Kyle and Olivia Carpinello-Kurt and their sons Odin and Griffin. The Ensminger and Berner families, who she so enjoyed when they visited almost every year, and Rose Marie Hargrave and other family members thoughtfully kept her apprised of the many Hargrave extended family members’ lives.

She held a special place in her heart for her son Mike, with whom she shared intellectually stimulating conversations and laughter. Mike bought her iPhones and iPads and whatever new gadget came along that enhanced her life as her physical abilities failed. She loved to drive, though knew when she had to hang up her keys in her late 90s. Never one to stay still, many have experienced her in her last few years tooling around Costco in a motorized cart or swimming at the Edge pools.

Always hardworking, positive, imaginative, encouraging, a strong believer in the power of educating oneself and remaining open to possibilities, we remember an indomitable lover of life and family.