Venus Billie Pegar – paid memorium
Long time Penn Valley resident, Venus Billie Pegar died January 2, 2005 at the age of 89, from a stroke suffered on December 17, 2004. The family would like to celebrate her life by sharing her story with you.
Venus was the last of nine children born to Exer and William Cason. Her father went coon huntin’ in Alabama, caught pneumonia and died, 3 months before she was born. Afterward, Exer moved with the children to a farm in Texas where Venus was born, June 22, 1915. The family moved several times within Texas and finally settled in Brownfield, Texas. While in high school, Venus was a star basketball player and was part of the first girls’ basketball team in Texas to wear shorts for uniforms. After she graduated from high school, she joined her two sisters, Drusilla Tracy and Opal Elizabeth (Liz) Seck in California. In 1934, she met and married Al Pegar at Mare Island Naval Base in Vallejo.
After moving to San Francisco, they had what turned out to be their only daughter, Judie. During WWII Venus worked in the Schlage Lock factory. They moved to San Bruno in 1945, at which time she went to work for the Burlingame School District, as the cafeteria manager and cook for Hoover Elementary School.
In 1950, the Pegars moved to Penn Valley to be near Venus’ sister, Liz Seck, whose family owned and operated Lake Olympia, in what is now the Glenbrook Basin in Grass Valley. Venus and her husband Al owned and operated Pegar’s Y in Penn Valley from 1950, until their retirement in 1970. For many years Penn Valley was not on any road map, but Pegar’s Y was. Besides being the only place for miles along Highway 20 for truckers hauling explosives to stop, Pegar’s Y was the local restaurant, gas station, grocery, bar and all around community gathering place. Venus was known for her humor and her pies, and many of the truckers would stop especially for her pies. (Just last year, her granddaughter Kim ran into an old trucker out of Reno who remembered Venus and wanted to know if she was still baking pies!) Venus and Al were instrumental in starting the Penn Valley Volunteer Fire Dept and subsequently the Penn Valley Rodeo to help fund the Fire Department. A shed was built at “the Y” to house the fire truck they bought for $600 at auction at Camp Beale with funds donated by the locals. A siren was installed on the windmill tower behind the restaurant and so began the Penn Valley Volunteer Fire Dept.
Venus loved visiting with friends, and spending time on a houseboat that they had built at Englebright Lake. They retired in 1970 in order to spend more time with their granddaughters. In the early 1950’s Venus was hunting deer on Harold Ennor’s property on Indian Springs Road and fell in love with a piece of land. She later was able to purchase the property in 1952. The property remained vacant until 1970 when her daughter Judie purchased the property from them in order to move back to Penn Valley and make a home for her three daughters. Venus loved having her granddaughters close and spent a lot of time helping the kids with their animals, volunteering at Ready Springs School as a “Room Granny” and being the 4-H sewing leader. In her spare time she enjoyed bowling, fishing, swimming and gardening. She helped found the Nitwit Band and worked in the Volunteer Fire Department Thrift Store.
Venus was a vital lady who was known for her quick wit and was always ready with a joke or story to tell. She had a twinkle in her eye and you never could predict what she would say or do next. She loved animals, especially dachshunds, ponies, and horses. She was an avid gardener with a green thumb. She was always pinching off pieces of plants and sticking them in the ground where they would root so everyone could enjoy watching them grow. Roses were her pride and joy. Besides teaching her granddaughters to fish, she also taught them to bury the fish parts under the roses. Her flowers thrived and so did her granddaughters.
Her husband Al died in 1982, after a long battle with cancer. Not long after that, Venus moved to the ranch property with her daughter Judie. In 1986, Judie and Venus designed and built a “pool house” on the property where Venus could have easy access to the pool so that she could swim and be outdoors to watch all of the critters and plant to her hearts content. She was thrilled when a couple of years ago her granddaughter and grandson-in-law were able to purchase the adjacent property. As a result, she was able to spend a lot of time with her great grandsons. She lived this way until her stroke on December 17th, 2004 at which time she had to be hospitalized and subsequently passed away on January 2nd.
She was preceded in death by her parents William and Exer Cason. Husband Albert E. Pegar and all of her siblings; Ester Cazwell (TX), Abner Cason (TX), Ira Cason (TX), Drusilla Tracy (CA), Elizabeth (Opal) Seck (CA), Olen Cason (NV), Jesse Cason (TX), and William Cason (TX).
Venus is survived by her daughter Judie Borders and her son-in-law Bob Stockton, of Penn Valley. She is also survived by her three granddaughters and their families: Amy and Alfred Sweeting of Las Vegas, NV; Jill and Brian McCabe along with great granddaughters, Bailey and Kelsey McCabe of Merced, CA; Kim and Mark Smith along with great grandsons Zachary and Case Smith of Penn Valley. She is also survived by her many nieces, nephews and relatives, as well as her dear friends Marggy Clingan and Wendell Miller of Grass Valley.
In accordance with her wishes she was cremated and her remains will be scattered by her family privately at her beloved ranch. There will be no public memorial so therefore no memorial contributions are necessary. However, if anyone would like to, donations to any charity in her memory would be appreciated. Venus will be dearly missed by her family and friends. However, her wit, love and “twinkle” will live on in our hearts. She lived her life the way she wanted and we see no reason why her after life would be any different. She wouldn’t stand for it being any other way!
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