Not all of Peggy Gallo's reasons for joining the Navy during the Korean War were typical ones, but join she did, and she ended up making Naval history as part of an all female crew at the Worldwide Fleet's communication operation center.
"She and her girlfriend wanted to do something to support the nation - and they liked the uniforms of the Navy," said her son, James. "Her friend she signed up with didn’t pass the physical, and Mom ended up going in by herself."
The former Peggy Skrobat of Lancaster, who became an executive secretary, died Tuesday on her 92nd birthday at Our Lady of Peace Nursing Home, Lewiston.
Born in Buffalo, she attended Lafayette High School for three years, and graduated from Kenmore West High School.
She joined the Navy and served two years during the Korean War as a radio operator, third class. She was a member of the first all-WAVE overnight shift in 1953, when the Worldwide Fleet communication operation center in Norfolk, Va. was staffed with all women, from the officer in command to every telegraph and voice circuit operator.
When she told her family why she and her friend picked the Navy, she told them the uniforms were nicely tailored, her son said.
Mrs. Gallo was the executive secretary to the president of the Markel Electric Co. from 1954 to 1960, and later was the secretary for Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bowmansville from 1976 to 1995.
It was at Markel that she met her husband, Anthony, who was working there part-time. She knew his sister, who introduced them.
"After three dates with my father, they were engaged," Gallo said.
The couple moved to Cherry Hill, N.J. for two years, and then returned to Western New York. He died in 2002.
Mrs. Gallo was past president of the Women's Auxiliary of the Romulus Club of Buffalo. She was a Heart Association volunteer for many years, and a member of the Parent-Teacher Organization in the Lancaster School District. She was named Woman of the Year in 1976 at Bowmansville Elementary School. During her retirement, she spent 19 winters at the family condo in Port Charlotte, Fla. She enjoyed reading, working crossword puzzles and playing canasta. She also enjoyed spending time with friends and family, and bowling.
In addition to her son, she is survived by three sisters, Josephine Wojcik, Alexandra "Elsie" Zon and Sylvia Byrns, and one granddaughter.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 5337 Genesee St., Bowmansville. Burial with full military honors will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery.