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Margaret "Peggy" Kinney

Margaret "Peggy" Kinney

Margaret Genevieve "Peggy" Kinney, dairy farm wife, mother of 11 children, and co-founder of Badlands Sno-Park in Hudson, died Sunday at age 87.

In 1969, Kinney and her husband established Badlands Recreation Inc., one of the first snow-tubing operations in the upper Midwest. Peggy served an estimated half million cups of hot chocolate to snow-tubers over 48 years at the family-run business. The snow-tubing hills, 6 miles east of Hudson, are part of Kinney family farms dating to the early 1880s. The original Badlands ticket office and snack counter that Kinney operated was a remodeled 19th century farmhouse where her father-in-law was born and later was occupied by hired hands.

Kinney was born on September 7,1930, in Martell, Wisconsin, to Charles Ralph and Grace (Hendrickson) O'Connell. She was raised as a farm girl in Pleasant Valley and graduated from Baldwin High School in 1949. She married Bernard Kinney on October 12, 1949, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hudson.

Kinney was active in church activities and civic life as an election poll worker, 4-H leader, volunteer at Grace Place safe home, and member of the Woods and Hills Homemaker Club in Hudson. She was a lifelong Democrat and supported her husband's public service as a Hudson town board chairman and a St. Croix County supervisor, hosting many political debates around her kitchen table.

Kinney also enjoyed hosting family and friends, dancing, playing cards, and celebrating her Irish heritage. A widow since 1994, she traveled to many states and Europe to visit her children, including several visits to Rome and the Vatican.

Kinney was beloved by her large family and the dozens of nieces, nephews, and friends whom she welcomed for overnight farm visits or recruited to help milk cows, bale hay, or tend the snow-tubing hills. To countless more from across the Twin Cities region and western Wisconsin, she was known as the charming lady serving hot chocolate at Badlands.

The farmhouse where Kinney spent most of her life is perched on a high hill on the Hudson prairie with a spectacular sunset vista. With children at her side, she died just after sunset on Sunday evening at the Red Cedar Canyon Assisted Living in Hudson. Complications from lymphoma diagnosed in spring 2017 led to her death.

Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, Bernard; infant daughters Marie and Mona Rachel; brothers Thomas and Patrick O'Connell, and sister Susan Thompson. She is survived by brothers Charles, Michael (Judy), Richard (Judy), and Francis (Nita) O'Connell, and sisters Rosalie (Dick) Newton and Mary Anderson; her children Ann (Steve) Klein of Paxton, Nebraska, Gregory Kinney of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Patricia (Roger) Bevers of Hudson, Bridgette (Tom) Preston of Palmer, Alaska, Margaret (Gary) Hall of Hudson, Kathleen (Chris) Ahrens of Salt Lake City, Utah, Frances (Michael) Damian of Trinidad, California, Jacqueline Kinney of Davis, California; Patrick (Jill) Kinney of Hudson; Robert Kinney of Phoenix, Arizona; and Elizabeth Kinney (Franco Ravanello) of Trento, Italy; grandchildren John (Sophia) and Jess Klein, Brian (Tonia) Bevers, Aurora (Joey) Henry, Azeena (JayDee) Dargis, Lucy and Leo Ahrens, Samish, Camille and Geena Damian, Serena and Leila Roberts, Carly Elling, Molly, Katie, and Henry Kinney, Isaiah Kinney, and Liliana and Ruben Ravanello; great-grandchildren Jayden and Karmella Klein, Dylan, Dominic, Declan, and Donal Bevers, Florence Henry, Marayva and Bianca Dargis, Levi and Xander Kinney, and Carly's children Rowan, Miley, Josie and Jessa.

Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday, February 19, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hudson with burial in the church cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, February 18, with a prayer service at 6:45 p.m., at O'Connell Funeral Home in Hudson and one hour prior to the service at the church. Kinney asked that memorials be made to St. Patrick School in Hudson where all of her 11 children and 3 of her grandchildren completed grades 1 through 8.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Red Cedar Canyon Assisted Living for the wonderful care and support they gave their mother and to St. Croix Hospice for providing care, support and guidance through her final days.

Services entrusted to the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, (715) 386-3725.