‘Queen Maggie’ Margaret Peterson Leaves Behind a Legacy

BALLSTON SPA – A beauty legend, Margaret Kathryn “Maggie” Peterson passed away Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 in Virginia at 85-years-old.

Born in Sept. 21, 1932, ‘Maggie’ Margaret Peterson was known across the town as a sought after professional seamstress and beauty queen, winning the village Sesquicentennial in 1957 and 2007.  She was known for sporting short black hair and long elegant fur robes.

Local author Ann Hauprich recalls the commemorative button Queen Maggie wore on an evening she caught a glimpse of her in the Saratoga County Historical museum. According to Maggie, the button served as a “cosmetic permit,” an obligatory item for all ladies who wore make-up in public during Ballston Spa’s Sesquicentennial celebrations of 1957. Maggie said there was a fine for non-compliance, such as being put in the stocks in the Village Square.

“Nobody was uptight in those days. We all had so much fun and pulled together to raise a net of $10,000 – an unheard sum back in those days” Recollected Maggie, “It became the model for other locals to aspire to.”

In the late 1960s, Maggie would go on to work at the Naval Nuclear Laboratory in West Milton, N.Y. and enjoyed several years at Mathew Bender.

Rallying for worthy causes continued throughout Maggie’s life, as she raised four children Peggy, Patty, Mary and Jimmy. Maggie was a Zepko, and the oldest sibling among seven at that, raised by the late Margaret and Joseph Zepko.

Her son, Jim Crane, has fond memories of coming home to sheets tacked up in the living room as Maggie hosted fittings for bridal parties.

Maggie, twice widowed within her lifetime, was still morning the loss of her husband Eugene Peterson when her reign as Ballston Spa’s Bicentennial Queen was starting. ‘Gene’ was studying to become a doctor when president J. Edgar Hoover recruited him for the FBI.

At the time of his retirement at 79-years-old, from a career of almost 30 years with the Bureau, Mr. Peterson was serving as Chief of Soviet Counter Intelligence in the FBI’s Washington D.C. headquarters. Maggie served as a member of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI in the Quantico Chapter.

After moving to Virginia in late 1980’s, Maggie found her passion as a Sales Associate and Settlement Representative for upscale custom home builders in Lake Ridge, Manassas, Winchester and Fredericksburg. Maggie took pleasure in attending the Republican Women’s Federal Forum, Capitol Hill Chapter, in Washington D.C.

After retirement, Maggie loved international travel; she frequented the island of Aruba, but her all time favorite was a trip to Israel.


Current Senior at UAlbany. Staff writer for the Albany Student Press. Proud plant mom. Currently working on graphic design, photography and print making on the side. Writing with a passion for all things art related.

Copyright © All rights reserved.