Peggy Goldwater, 76, Dies; Senator at Her Bedside

From Times Wire Services

Peggy Goldwater, wife of Sen. Barry Goldwater, died today of complications from recent circulation problems and amputation of her left leg. She was 76.

Mrs. Goldwater died at 5:34 a.m. at Good Samaritan Medical Center here, said Earl Eisenhower, the Arizona Republican’s press secretary. Goldwater was at the bedside of his wife of 51 years when she died.

Mrs. Goldwater stayed in the background during her husband’s long political career and, when he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1964, said she found the thought of becoming First Lady “frightening.”


Mrs. Goldwater, who was born in Muncie, Ind., was graduated from the Mount Vernon Seminary and Junior College in Washington, D.C. Her father, Ray Johnson, was a founder of Borg-Warner, one of the country’s leading automotive parts manufacturing corporations.

At their 50th anniversary celebration last year, 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.”

Mrs. Goldwater was founder of Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona. When she attended a Phoenix fashion show in 1981 after the senator received an artificial hip, she was asked about his condition so much that she attached a sign to her lapel that said, “Barry is doing fine, thank you.”

Survivors include four children, former U.S. Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. of California, Michael Goldwater, Joanne Butler and Peggy Clay.