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In Memory

Peg (Margaret) McEntee

Peg (Margaret) McEntee

For Peg McEntee, truth was the work and words were the tools

The former Salt Lake Tribune columnist and editor died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Peg McEntee in 2012.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Peg McEntee in 2012.

By Tim Fitzpatrick

 May 3, 2023, 6:00 a.m.

The story was always supreme.

Former Salt Lake Tribune news editor and columnist Peg McEntee, who died Thursday at Intermountain Health Center from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, was the consummate journalist, a lover of language and its power to deliver knowledge.

Over a 35-year career, McEntee reported on or helped with coverage of most major Utah events — first while writing for The Associated Press and later as a mentor of reporters and as metro columnist for The Tribune. A Western woman who owned guns and shared stories of fishing on Strawberry Reservoir from the time she was a teenager, McEntee could manage both tough and tender stories.

“She often ‘tarted up’ my leads, as she would say, or would find just the right word to make a sentence smoother, richer, more graceful. We never argued about her changes — she was always right,” Tribune Senior Religion Reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack, who was edited by McEntee for more than a decade, wrote in a Facebook post. “Though not a religious person herself, Peg treated my beat and my stories with utmost respect. She brought deep empathy and sharp observations to every assignment.”

Former Tribune Reporter Mike Gorrell remembers competing, and commiserating, with McEntee during the 1984 Wilberg Mine disaster, when 27 miners died in a fire in an Emery County coal mine. “Peg had a toughness that coal miners respected, but a soft heart, too. We shed tears together over drinks … one night after we both came to understand the horrible consequences of mass death on the people left behind.”

“My most vivid memory of Peg is when I was a news editor, and she was still at The Associated Press, just before joining The Tribune,” said former Tribune Editor and Publisher Terry Orme. “I filed a story to the AP wire that I thought was quite strong and important. She read it, called me, and pointed out the many holes and dubious assumptions. She saved me, and my reporter.”

As an editor, McEntee was holistic. She didn’t just edit her reporters’ copy. She helped them manage their lives.

“We had children the same age, so exchanged notes on child-rearing and parental mishaps,” said Stack. “She was enormously proud of her daughter Kate, who was — and is — remarkable.”

“She changed the course of my life at least twice, but I remember her almost daily as a mother/sister/editor/no-BS life coach and friend,” said Hilary Groutage Weible in a post on Stack’s Facebook page. Weible worked with McEntee at AP and The Tribune and is now an adjunct professor at Marshall University in West Virginia.

“She once kept my teen daughter on the phone, instructing her to keep pressure on a slice the length of her finger while I sped from Salt Lake City to Davis County to deliver Emily to the hospital in a pre-cell phone world,” Weible wrote. “Years later, she found me at a school board meeting to relay the news that my son had skated off the roof of my house and broken his leg. The kids were OK and stories filed on time thanks to Peg’s cool head.”

As a Tribune columnist from 2009 to 2013, McEntee challenged bigotry, as she did in a 2012 column about the banning of a gay-friendly book in a Davis County school library:

“Where to start? Nothing in ‘In Our Mothers’ House’ advocates anything but love of family, friends and community. Nor is a school library book considered curriculum; the only criterion is that it’s age appropriate for the child who’s borrowing it. As for a library itself, it’s a place of wonder where kids and their parents find books and other materials that might open dazzling doors to new worlds. Plus, it’s free.”

When she wasn’t taking on the establishment, she was championing underdogs. In her last column, she discussed wandering the state to find the stories that need telling.

“That’s one reason I loved to hit the open road as a columnist, talking to people I otherwise wouldn’t have even met. Such as the shopkeepers in Panguitch, worried sick about the Alton strip coal mine, or the guy in Castle Dale who breeds zebras and Watusi cattle. I’ve talked with a heartbroken merchant whose Gunnison dress shop went bankrupt due to an underground gas plume and who got only a pittance in a settlement.

“And it was in Gunnison, years later, that I talked to prison inmates who work with wild horses brought in to big pastures by the Bureau of Land Management. When I asked the guys what that taught them, they invariably said ‘patience’ — a good thing for someone who someday is going to be an ex-con.”

Her husband of 41 years, Bill Throneburg, remembers a writer who was a voracious reader. “She was devoted to The New Yorker magazine when it would come out weekly, and she was devoted to The New York Times Sunday edition. And she was a proud patron of the King’s English bookstore.”

Margaret Marie McEntee was born in 1952 in Salt Lake City to Bernard and Elizabeth McEntee. She attended Skyline High School and the University of Utah. She married Throneburg in 1982, and they have one daughter, Kate Throneburg. She is also survived by five siblings: David McEntee, Merry Worrel, Patricia Snow, Marni McEntee and Bill McEntee.

Funeral services are pending. Donations may be made in McEntee’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.



Margaret M. McEntee obituary


Margaret M. McEntee

Sept. 13, 1952 – Apr. 27, 2023

Peg McEntee, loving wife, mother and friend, passed away peacefully due to complications from Alzheimer's disease on Thursday, April 27th. Peg was born in Salt Lake City to Elizabeth Beck McEntee and Bernard McEntee and was preceded in death by her parents.

A transfer to Fresno allowed Peg to disappear for hours at a time exploring vinyards and neighborhoods on her bike. Returning to Salt Lake, the family settled into their home on Wallace Lane in Holladay. One of the highlights of her life was the time she spent working at Charlie Woodbury's Trout Creek Boat Camp at Strawberry Reservoir. She formed an enduring, loving friendship with Scarlett Hepworth over the summers of 1967, 1968 and 1969. Peg graduated from Skyline High School in 1970, involved with the literary magazine and theater activities.

Peg enjoyed her backshop work at the U. of U.'s Daily Utah Chronicle with Rex Nutting, Ron Varela and friend through it all, Barbara Rattle. In fact, it was here that old friend Scarlett introduced her to her future husband, Bill Throneburg. Peg and Bill were married at Bill's family home June 11, 1982.

In 1982, Peg began work as a writer and editor on local and national stories for the Associated Press. She then assumed an editor's role at The Salt Lake Tribune in 1994. Her work ethic, storytelling and personality earned her enormous respect from her editors and those she worked with. She made many fast friends during her years at AP and the Trib.

Her interest in people and their stories, as well as her loyalty and energy, were evident in her personal life. Peg and Bill had their daughter, Kate, in 1987, and there could not have been a more supportive mother. She made friends wherever she went, was frequently on the phone with her siblings, and was quick to put on a pot of coffee or pour a snort.

Always alert and curious, she enjoyed travel to Europe with friends and family. One of her favorite places was Cedar Mesa in Southern Utah, where tent camping was the order of the day.

An avid reader, Peg valued her subscriptions to The New Yorker and the Sunday New York Times. She was a cherished patron of the King's English bookstore, where she racked up plenty of bookstore credits over many years. Most evenings and weekends, she could be found making her way through stories and novels. Peg and daughter Kate joked for many years that her epitaph would read, "Let me just finish this chapter."

Peg is survived by husband Bill, daughter Kate and her five siblings. The family is especially thankful for the care and careful attention paid by the entire staff of the Intermountain Medical Center.

A memorial celebration of Peg's life is pending. In honor of Peg, the family suggests that contributions be made to the Alzheimer's Association of Utah (855 E. 4800 S., Ste 100, Salt Lake City, UT 84107).



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05/05/23 11:57 AM #1    

Janice Snow (Mathews)

Peggy's sister, Pat, is my sister-in-law. They lost their mother to this disease. She will be missed. Rest in peace Peg🌹

05/07/23 02:05 PM #2    

Karen Eckels (Scharer)

I am saddened to hear of Peg's passing.  She was among the people I most enjoyed and admired during my time at Skyline.  Always very much her own person, never reluctant to speak her mind.  You always knew where she stood, and - by virtue of that - where you stood with her as well.  Nevertheless, there was always a sense that there was more beneath the thoughtful, funny, quirky, predictably unpredictable person she was. I have thought of her often though I haven't seen her in years. I'm sorry that the opportunity is now lost.  Rest in peace, Peg.  You were one-of-a-kind.

05/07/23 11:19 PM #3    

Christi Hemming (Cuff)

Thank you, Janice for sharing Peg's obituary and the outstanding column written about her life. She certainly touched many lives. I wished I had been able to know her better during our time at Skyline. My condolences to her family and all those that loved her.

05/08/23 12:28 AM #4    

Alan Pearson

Peg and I became good friends in art during our senior year. We were different people in many ways, but I found Peg attractive and intelligent.

It's sad to think of her, such a smart person, suffering from an illness such as alzheimers. Peg left her mark on the world through her talent and character. She will not be forgotten.

05/08/23 07:38 AM #5    

Christy Zogg (Lueders)

I didn't know her real well but I always enjoyed Peg in our writing class.  She was smart and a real individual who stood out.  Condolences to her family.  

06/04/23 08:36 PM #6    

Barbara Gold (Lloyd)

Dear Peggy's Friends and Family-   

This news makes be so sad.   Peggy and I met in Soccor class at Churchill JrHS.  

We had a teriffic group of friends where all were welcomed -   We were't the cool kids but we were awesome!-  we  shared a sick sense of humor, sometimes snarky but never mean .

Looking back to the 1970s,   Life was fun- Language & twisted puns, lots of passing notes ( Peg  would send my notes back with the spelling and grammar corrected  I'm-sure she's reading this with her stubby red pencil-)   Once we could drive, we'd gather at Bimbo'sPizza for hours- solving  problems of the world over a cup of tea  So sophistcated!).   Every year we'd get a gussied up to attend the Honor Queen's Ball for the Jobs Daughters at the Masonic Temple  usually go as group -one for all and all for one!

If any of her vinyl records are still around & you don't want them -  give me a call.  Peg a great taste in folk and 60's music]

We stirred  up a  bit of mischief -   and fancied ourselves  to be clean Hippies our extended circle inlcuded Kids from East, Judge, Olympus, and on & on.  Mostly the EYC  (Episcopal Young Churchmen,)  And both Cathedrals downtown.  Peggy was proud of her Irish Catholic heritage.

We all had fun jobs and Peg's love of journalism came naturally.. She was brilliant!  I miss our VW Bug posse,  When I'd see her stuff in the Trib,  I felt like we had just been hanging out.  

I'm grateful for the years we were besties.  I'm sorry it was so - 

 I won't forget -  well I 'll try not to  ...  My battle is Parkinson's so cut me some slack on the typos etc





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