Margaret Anne "Peggy" Mayhill (Kreisle)
One of Knightstown’s most prominent residents, Margaret Anne “Peggy” Mayhill, died peacefully on Friday morning, October 19th, 2018, at St. Vincent’s hospital in Indianapolis at the age of 98.
She was born on September 10, 1920 in Tell City, Indiana, located on the banks of the Ohio River from her parents, John D. “Jack” and Ruth Kreisle. She was the eldest of four children. The family owned and operated Kreisle Manufacturing Company, a lumber mill, which produced, among other things, porch swings for Sears and Roebuck Company catalogue and stores.
She is survived by sisters, Joanne (Kreisle) Duran, and Kristine (Kreisle) Harder. Brother Bill Kreisle died in 2017.
Peggy graduated from Tell City High School in 1938 and Hanover College in 1942 with a B.A. degree in English. She was in the school band, played sports and was the head cheerleader at both Tell City and Hanover where she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She went on to earn her master’s degree from Earlham College.
She met Navy Lieutenant Commander, R. Thomas “Tom” Mayhill in the summer of 1944 during World War II on a train ride from Union Station in Indianapolis to Louisville, Ky. They were married later that year, on December 26, 1944 in Tell City.
They lived in Brooklyn NY where he was stationed. She taught English at Troy High School near her hometown of Tell City while he served his country in the Navy. After the war, the Mayhills moved to Hoopeston, Illinois. where he was assistant publisher of the Hoopeston Daily Chronicle-Herald. They then moved to Camden, Indiana after purchasing the Camden Record-News.
In late 1946, they purchased the Knightstown Banner and in 1955 they started the weekly Eastern Indiana Farmer (now Farm World). Then, in 1968, they launched the Tri-State Trader (now Antique Week), an antique publication serving Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky which became a nationally recognized publication. Peg’s love of antiques and auctions led to the start of Antique week.
They moved to 305 N Adams Street in 1953, across the street from the Knightstown Academy School and the now famous Hoosier gym. Peggy and her friend, Jo Carter, were instrumental in securing the Knightstown gym as the home gym of the Hickory Huskers, bringing it to the attention of the producer and director of “Hoosiers” after reading about their search in 1986 for a 1950’s gym in the Indianapolis Star.
She taught English at Charlottesville High School from 1960-63 and served as the Knightstown school librarian from 1963-1973 when she opened a bookstore, the Bookmark, on the town square in Knightstown. It was open from 1973-2010.
Peggy and Tom were active in book preservation and reprinting. She shared Tom’s passion for history, birds, Purdue, historical preservation, books, spending time in Sanibel Island and love for their country.
Peggy and Tom spent time at their home on Lake Wawasee creating many memories for their children and grandchildren. Their grandchildren have many wonderful memories of their beloved Grammy at the lake, cooking, and playing cards. They loved traveling, particularly to Germany and England.
Peggy took her last trip to Scotland and England in 2015 at age 94.
She also was an active member of Daughters of American Revolution (DAR), Shakespeare Club, Tri Kappa, Glen Cove Cemetery board, Knightstown Library board and founding member of Historic Knightstown.
The Mayhills purchased what became the Hoosier Gym to save it from demolition. They then donated it to Historic Landmarks for preservation. Today the Gym, in addition to serving as a museum for the movie “Hoosiers,” hosts high school teams from as far away as New York & Mississippi for games. Nearly every Friday and Saturday from November thru February the Gym is alive with high school athletes experiencing playing a game in this shrine to basketball. They experience basketball as it was in the era of the Hickory Huskers. When not hosting games the Gym is open for individuals to attempt their best “Jimmy and Ollie” shots.
Peggy was preceded in death by grandson Robert Long in 1993 and her husband of 67 years, Tom, in 2012, brother Bill in 2017. Their four children: Julie Long (Dan), John Mayhill (Sally), Janice Menke (Denny Dicke) and Merry Thoe (Gary). 12 grandchildren: Molly (Long) Bain; Katie (Long) Moore; Billy, Jenny. and Hunter Menke; Christy (Menke) Traub; Andy, John, Ruthanne, and Corby Thoe; Emily (Mayhill) Shoop; Tommy Mayhill and 18 great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Heritage Funeral Home in Knightstown with the calling and funeral being held at the Knightstown United Methodist church this Friday, October 26th. Friends may visit the church from 10 a.m. to 12 with the funeral following at 1 p.m. in the church. Burial will follow at Glen Cove Cemetery. Those who plan to attend upcoming services may check the funeral home's website (www.heritagefuneralcares.com) for further information.
Contributions can be made to: Hoosier Gym, 355 N Washington St, Knightstown, Indiana 46148; Historic Knightstown, 22 N. Washington St., Knightstown, Indiana 46148 and United Methodist Church, 27 S Jefferson St, Knightstown, IN 46148