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School Nurse, Lifetime Resident,Peggy O'Neill Gilmartin Transcends Generations

Known to young and old alike, Gilmartin continues to contribute to the local community.

At the recent St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Main Street in Kings Park, you may have taken note of a very spry, energetic woman wearing a white winter coat, jeans, Kelly green beret and scarf and Irish flag Converse sneakers.  She could be seen walking up and down the parade route, shaking hands and hugging nearly everyone she passed.  With every recognition came a huge smile; people generally burst into smiles when you mention Peggy O’Neill Gilmartin.

If you don't know Gilmartin, you will probably find someone who does. She is one of nine siblings who loved to play with other large families in Kings Park. Perhaps you went to high school with her and watched her excell in varsity sports such as volleyball, field hockey, softball and basketball.

She also spent 25 years working as a dental hygenist in Dr. George Tiernan’s dental office in town.  When Dr. Tiernan sold his business to Dr. Gentile, Gilmartin was a very welcome part of the deal.  She continues to bring smiles to Dr. Gentile’s patients.

Peggy has an obvious love for her hometown of Kings Park. Dr. Tiernan tells of how all of her girlfriends teased her when she started working for him at 17.  They were all going into NYC and making 25 cents an hour more than she was. While her friends were riding the train and living the city life, Gilmartin would work arrive at work at 9 a.m. and leave at 5:05 p.m.  running out the door in her softball uniform. 

 “She was a crackerjack," says Tiernan. " She had such quickness she could learn anything you gave her.  Her personality was such that every patient loved her and they kept coming back because of her.” 

While working for Dr. Tiernan, Gilmartin met the love of her life, John Gilmartin.  The two married and settled down on Kings Street and had two daughters, Kiera, now 29 and married with a daughter and Caitlin, 27. 

After 16 years of marriage, her husband died from a very aggressive form of leukemia.  Peggy says that it was the love and support of her family and her friends here in Kings Park that got her through that horrible loss.  Rather than focus on the sadness of  the loss, Gilmartin smiles broadly when her husband is mentioned and tells stories of the joy he brought her.  

She continued working for Dr. Tiernan and pursued her nursing degree at Farmingdale State University while raising her two young daughters. During her training,  Gilmartin not only cared for her patients’ illnesses, but she also taught each of them the importance of dental hygiene.

Children know Gilmartin as the school nurse from Park View Elementary where she is known for making the kids giggle and smile when they are feeling their worst.

When not working, you can find Gilmartin enjoying the simple things in life:  dinner at her favorite Kings Park eatery Ciro’s, evening walks on the boardwalk, gardening in her pristine yard or spending time teaching her the ways of the Irish to the apple of her eye,  granddaughter Lily Cait. 

Kathleen March 28, 2011 at 07:32 PM
She was "Mrs. Gilmartin" until my son Brendan was in Kindergarten and started calling her "Nurse Peg"! By any name, we all appreciate her kindness, especially to all our special needs kids. Whether she's chasing a run-away child(Brendan) down the hall or helping a child(Kevin) make & eat pancakes for the first time , she's always smiling! Slainte Nurse Peg! :o) The Lanese family
Lisa Cali April 06, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Peggy is a one-of-a-kind lady, and this tribute to her is wonderful. She is so incredible with all the children at Park View and knows each and every one of them by name. I am honored to have worked with her for the past six years that I have been involved in the Park View PFA. Her attendance at PFA events always brings smiles to the children's faces. Love you Nurse Peg! The Cali Family
Steve Weber April 10, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Peggy is the light of Kings Park in every way, her kindness and caring for our children is so much appreciated. I remember when my son was very young and not progressing as well as he should, he was misdiagnosed by several so called professionals, it was Peggy who correctly identified his hearing issue and help us get the operation which corrected this and enable our son to reach his true potential. This lady is a saint, a great nurse, and a true example of all that is good in this world. Our love and gratitude is with her always, we love you Peggy! XOXOXOXO Steve Weber!
Myra Fontana September 29, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Peggy is a great person she has a fantastic personality. I have never seen her down she is definitely someone who sees the glass half full rather than half empty. Its a pleasure knowing Peggy a true Irish Colleen
Beth LaFantano September 29, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Peggy always extends her hand to help. Her motivation is pure love and concern for others. Great neighbor and friend. So glad you are both to me!

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