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Thomas Pegler 1923-2018

Thomas Eugene Pegler, died Sunday May 6, 2018, at Daviess Community Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He had been ill and bedridden following a stroke on Mother's Day 2011.
Thomas was born May 27, 1923, to Lalah and Lloyd Pegler in Evansville. He attended West Heights Elementary and Reitz High School in Evansville, where he graduated in 1941. He worked at Old National Bank in Evansville after graduation.
He was V-5 Naval Air Cadet, enlisting in 1941, stationed at DePauw University in Greencastle, Lewis School of Aeronautics, Joliet, Illinois, and the University of Georgia. In 1943 he was honorably discharged from the Navy Air Corps then enlisted in the Merchant Marine officers program, stationed at San Mateo, California, where he was promoted to battalion commander. He was assigned to a merchant ship and sent to Sasebo, Japan. He was in Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped. Upon returning, he was assigned to the Merchant Marine Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After World War II ended, he enrolled in the then Evansville College, graduating in three years. During that time he worked for L & N Railroad.
He taught school two years at Dale, Indiana, where he started the band program. In 1951 he became the band director at Washington High School, where he taught for 37 years. The band made numerous trips under his direction, including three trips to Washington, D.C., three trips to Walt Disney World, Montreal, Canada, Dollywood in Knoxville, Tennessee, Chicago, St. Louis and trips to the Kentucky Derby Parade in Louisville. The band, under his direction, participated in the Indy 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis, and the Jay C parade in Detroit. The band also was the only band to represent the state of Indiana during Richard Nixon's announcement for presidency. The band had 26 first division awards, in state wide contests.
Gene was a member of Antioch Christian Church.
He is survived by his wife Dorothy of 70 years, who was with him, and raised a family of four girls; WHS class of 1971 classmate Rebecca, WHS class of 1971 classmate Rhonda, Rosalyn and Rachelle, and one boy, Randall; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
The funeral service for Thomas will be Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 1 p.m. at the Antioch Christian Church, with visitation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church. Gill Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Condolences can be made at www.gillsince1872.com
From the 1970 & 1971 WHS Yearbooks: Eugene Pegler; Head Band Director, Head of Music Department.
University of Evansville B.A.  Indiana State University M.A.