A Lowcountry Classic Profile Featuring ...Peg Bottari

The Journey of a Lifetime

A jeep ride through the jungle was arguably the second stepping stone in life's journey leading Margaret Jean Young in the direction of George Bottari. Each stone promised amazing revelations, creating new memories and cherished global experiences.

George and Peg journeyed the world separately until 2001. Their pathways did not merge until the time was right. Having found one another after stepping about the world, they are not only journeying to new countries together, but discovering new heights in their marriage and finding that "every day is better than the last." Their interim experiences led to great intuitiveness; at the crossroads, they recognized an incredible connection.

Margaret Jean Young, "Peg", born in New York became an Ohio resident at an early age. Not too far away, George Bottari entered the world in South Bronx, New York. In 1943, Peg decided she wanted to serve her country during World War II. "It was a time of strong patriotism," she commented. Family and friends feared for her safety, yet in spite of their discouragement, she joined the WAVES, remaining in the U.S. Meanwhile, destiny took George into four combat campaigns in Europe from 1942-1945. Unknown to either, their strong American spirit was probably their first shared step in each other's direction.

"I wanted to be a great American novelist," recalled George, who has since penned several romantic novels. "I felt strongly about serving my country, so I enlisted, surmising that my experiences in the Army would also give me a great deal of material."

Peg received invaluable training in accounting while in the WAVES, leading to later positions with Young and Rubicon and Standard Oil. Yet her most important memory of war days was her opportunity to grow closer to her brother, Dick. Peg and Dick met in New York as often as their schedules allowed. Dick flew troops all over Europe and made it safely through the war, but was killed in a plane crash shortly afterward.
In 1947, Peg met and married Bob Bechtel, the man with whom she spent 52 years creating memories. They had two children, Barbara and Rick, and began their travels by renting a home in Jamaica for two weeks. "I still laugh over squeezing all our luggage and golf clubs into the tiny English car provided!" said Peg.

The Caribbean was only the beginning of the couple's adventures. They traveled throughout Asia and Australia. In 1965 Peg saw an ad in Vogue magazine for "a beautiful inn on Hilton Head Island" which looked very inviting. "Bob and I visited that fall, and after our jeep ride in the Palmetto Dunes jungle," she laughed, "we purchased a third row ocean lot on which we built our home in 1983."

After a 30-year career with McGraw-Hill, George and his wife, Nora, (a beautiful artist) moved to Hilton Head Island in 1984 to sculpt and paint. Meanwhile, Peg jumped into Hilton Head's golf community becoming tournament chairman of the Women's Golf Association.

Too soon, Peg's husband was stricken with emphysema and their travels came to an abrupt halt. Peg's golf outings were replaced with caregiving duties, which consumed her days for ten years. "In 1990, before Bob became so ill, an opportunity arose for me to join friends on a trip to Africa," Peg recalled. "He was unable to travel, yet encouraged me to go, understanding it had always been my dream."

The next stepping stone was tragic for both George and Peg. George's wife died suddenly, and Peg lost her husband in 2000. She began volunteering at the Bargain Box. Meanwhile, George continued his travels abroad studying sculpture, while remaining involved with the Hilton Head Art League and participating in Life Long Learning classes. Finally, their pathways were guided by a friend's introduction in 2001. Sharing many interests and bursting with energy, six months later, the couple's stepping stones converged in marriage.

"I loved my little home," said Peg. "I decorated it just as I wanted; and George's home was filled with beautiful sculptures, artwork and many choices different than mine."

Off they went house-hunting, discussing how they would blend their different tastes. "We found this marvelous home and undertook our challenge. We worked together, choosing pieces meaning the most to us and compromised; yours and mine became ours," Peg said. Their favorite area is the master suite, reflecting their shared safari tastes through artwork and accessories. "We love the painting of a great tiger overlooking our tub, the leopard print wallpaper and pillows scattered about, and of course, our beautiful lions guarding our entrance." Peg's photos taken in Africa, rich and rare, grace the walls of their stunning home with golden memories, reflecting proudly her many adventures in the amazing country.
Peg never thought she'd see Europe, but George promised her she would. In 2003, they cruised the Panama Canal, and the coveted journey to Europe followed in 2004. Their cruise on a lovely Regent vessel began in Venice, finishing in Rome. "I was overwhelmed by Pompeii," said Peg. The couple flew to Paris for several days, then continued with the sights, sounds and shows of London.

Several weeks after their U.S. departure, they joined the glorious Queen Mary on her transatlantic crossing back to New York. Another cruise in 2005 to the Southern Caribbean and an extended Canadian Rockies tour captured their fall.

Severe foot surgery in 2006 momentarily interrupted their travels, but Peg's determination persisted. In May, they will enjoy another transatlantic crossing, stopping in Bermuda and continuing to Spain and surrounding islands.

The Bottari's stepping stones merged perfectly in time. Combining their insight and energy, they cherish each timeless moment.