We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter
your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you
can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Peggy (Bentley) Meister
September 29, 1924 ~ August 2, 2023 (age 98) 98 Years Old
Read more about the life story of Peggy and share your memory.
Peggy was the last of seven children born to Ernest and Grace Bentley at the family home on Silverado Trail, Napa, around midnight on September 29, 1924 – her birth certificate incorrectly recorded September 30, as the birthdate and the name of Female Bentley. The birth certificate wasn't officially changed from Female to Peggy until she enrolled in college, but correcting the birth date wasn't an option.
Peggy grew up on the Bentley chicken ranch doing chores, sorting eggs, riding horses, and swimming in the Napa River while attending Soda Canyon School with her six siblings and neighbors. As a teen, she won a trophy at the Napa Town and Country Fair for tractor driving. Peggy graduated from Napa Union High School in 1943.
Peggy was a draftsperson for Basalt's shipbuilding contracts during WWII and worked at a Third Street gas station with sister Beatrice, as well as at a Napa florist. Peggy attended UC Berkeley while her sister Lillian was an instructor there. But Lillian had a hearing impairment, so along with attending her own classes, Peggy became Lillian's ears.
When stationed in San Francisco during WWII training GIs, Peggy's brother Tom would often bring a few trainees to the farm for a weekend and all the Bentley kids were expected to be good hosts for their visitors. During one of these visits Peggy and Herbert A. Meister met at the family breakfast table and the rest became history. They kept in touch while Herb was overseas and a short time after being discharged, he relocated to Napa. They subsequently married on September 7, 1946. Daughter Sue was born in August the next year, followed by Laura and then Dan a few years later.
While the kids were in school, Peggy tutored anyone who needed help with math, algebra, and geometry. Around 1968, she earned her real estate license and worked with a local agency but felt she was not fairly recognized for her efforts. So, Peggy became a broker and opened her own office, Meister's Landmark Realty. She recruited a handful of women who had impressive social and political connections, to join her as real estate agents. They were very successful despite working in a male-dominated profession.
As a proud 2nd generation native of Napa, Peggy was active with the Napa County Historical Society and loved to present her trunk shows about One-Room School Houses, Napa Valley Post Offices, and Napa County Cemeteries to service groups and schools. She enjoyed investing in homes needing renovation - and then would put Herb to work.
Peggy loved the old farmhouse she and Herb bought on McKinley Road in the early 1970s, with its massive oak tree alongside Milliken Creek. She relished hosting her grandchildren and making special cookies for their tea parties, coloring eggs, stringing beads, crawdad fishing, and growing sunflower forts.
Herb and Peggy had been married for almost 72 years when Herb passed away in 2018, just weeks before his 96th birthday. Peggy's parents, Grace and Ernest, along with her siblings: Benoni, Lillian, Grace, Ellen, Thomas, and Beatrice, predeceased her. Peggy is survived by children: Sue (Cal), Dan (Kim), Laura, bonus daughter, Mona Babin; along with numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Peggy passed peacefully on August 2, 2023, a few months shy of her 99th birthday. Her family is grateful for the dedicated care provided by Susana Tuivaga and family, all the caregivers at Napa Valley Senior Living, and Hospice Napa Valley. A private ceremony will be held at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.