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Senator’s Wife Dies at Age 76

December 12, 1985

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ Margaret ″Peggy″ Goldwater, 76-year-old wife of Sen. Barry Goldwater, died Wednesday at Good Samaritan Medical Center after suffering circulation problems that forced the amputation of her left leg.

Services will be held Sunday at Christ Church of the Ascension in suburban Paradise Valley, where the couple lived, said Earl Eisenhower, press secretary to the Arizona Republican.

The senator was with his wife when she died, Eisenhower said.

Her surgeon, Dr. Lee Brown, said, ″Mrs. Goldwater’s situation was always serious and it progressively worsened.″ Hospital spokesman James McVeigh said Mrs. Goldwater died of heart, lung and kidney dysfunction.

In Washington, White House spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan telephoned the senator at his home to express his sympathy.

Mrs. Goldwater had undergone three operations related to circulation problems.

She had surgery in early November to bypass a blood clot that had moved from her heart to an artery in the abdomen and caused circulation problems in her leg.

An artificial skin graft used in that operation became infected, and Mrs. Goldwater re-entered the hospital on Nov. 26. Two days later, she underwent major abdominal surgery in which received a larger artificial skin graft.

However, Goldwater aides said the second graft failed to provide circulation to her leg. The leg became infected and was amputated at mid-thigh in the third operation.

Mrs. Goldwater was born in 1909 in Muncie, Ind., and the Goldwaters were married there in 1934. At their 50th anniversary celebration on Sept. 22, 1984, Goldwater said his formula for a good marriage was, ″You make the best of it. Realize they have their little peculiarity ... Say a little prayer every night. Do the things she wants to do and do the things you want to do. You’ll do OK.″

Mrs. Goldwater was founder of Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona and was active in St. Luke’s Hospital and the Junior League. When she attended a Phoenix fashion show in 1981, she was asked about her husband so much that she attached a sign to her lapel that said, ″Barry is doing fine, thank you.″

″In today’s world, sharing your life with someone for 51 years is a remarkable feat. But Barry and Peggy Goldwater proved that couples can survive life’s ups and downs, and do it with a sense of humor and style,″ Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole said in Washington.

Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., said, ″I was saddened to learn of the passing of Peggy Goldwater. I know she has been a life-long source of joy, love and support for my good friend and colleague, Barry Goldwater. He has my sincerest sympathy in this time of grief.″

Mrs. Goldwater’s longtime physician, Dr. Richard MacMillan, said, ″I’ve never met a married couple more devoted to each other than Margaret and Barry Goldwater.″

The Goldwaters have four children: sons Barry Goldwater Jr., the former California congressman, and Michael, and daughters Margaret Clay and Joanne Butler. They have 10 grandchildren.

Mrs. Goldwater underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer in February 1982, and had been hospitalized in 1981 and 1983 with lung ailments.

The senator underwent triple-bypass heart surgery in November 1982 and received an artificial hip in 1981.

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