Services for Peggy J. Terranova Graff of Buffalo, a musician and co-founder of the Niagara Frontier Fiddle Club, will be held at 10 a.m. today in Evangelical Baptist Church, 141 Ludington St.
She died Monday in St. Joseph Hospital, Cheektowaga, after a long illness. She would have been 75 today.
Born in Frenchville, Pa., the fourth of six children, the former Peggy Kailbourn grew up in a family of musicians and coal miners. A guitarist, fiddler and yodeler, she showed her talent early, winning a singing contest at a radio station in nearby Clearfield, Pa., at age 16.
Through her brothers, who were working in the Rochester area, she met Edward William Ashby, a country singer from Fairport who performed as "Lonesome Eddie." They were married in 1949 and had six children, living in Fairport and Clearfield before moving to Buffalo's Lower West Side in 1956.
Ashby, orphaned as a boy after seeing his mother murdered, suffered with mental illness in the late 1950s, and they were divorced. She married Anthony G. Terranova in 1962. He died in 1998.
In 1965, she was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic disease that affects the skin and internal organs, and was given two weeks to live. She recovered, and although her hands were left permanently disfigured, she never stopped playing guitar and fiddle or sewing clothing and quilts.
After she raised her children, she became more active in music and co-founded the Niagara Frontier Fiddle Club in 1985. The club, which at times has included more than 80 musicians, has performed at nursing homes, senior citizen centers, festivals and fairs, including the annual steam engine show in Alexander.
Seven years ago, she married Robert Graff, a fiddler.
She also worked for several years as a bus driver, first driving school buses for Laidlaw, then Metro buses for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. She retired in the mid-1990s.
In addition to her husband, survivors include four daughters, Anna Tears, Dr. Kathleen Santiago, Peggy Sue Ashby and Lucille Camillo; four sons, Edward Ashby, Christopher Ashby, Randolph Ashby and Simon Black; and three brothers, Darrell Kailbourn, Laverne Kailbourn and Daniel Kailbourn.