Peggy Gilbert, the Gilbert wrestling family matriarch, passed away Tuesday, January 2, 2024, leaving an ever-lasting legacy throughout her home state of Tennessee. She was 81.

Peggy was the wife of late wrestler Tommy Gilbert. They were married for 55 years and were the proud parents of the late Eddie Gilbert, Doug Gilbert and Kim Gilbert. Peggy was also preceded in death by her parents, Willie and Marge Davis.

Kim and Peggy Gilbert. Facebook photo

Kim and Peggy Gilbert. Facebook photo

Long-time wrestling fan, Darla Staggs, knew the whole Gilbert family.

“The first time I met Peggy, which was a year after I had become friends with Tommy, Eddie and Doug, we instantly bonded. She was so kind and always welcomed me into her home,” recalled Staggs, who was included in the family’s surprise 50th anniversary party for Peggy and Tommy.

Miss Peggy wore many hats. She worked for West Tennessee Healthcare before retiring after 22 years. She became a mainstay in Henderson County Republican politics and was elected to the position of Alderman in the county seat of Lexington. She was repeatedly re-elected as Alderman and also served as Vice Mayor and Police Commissioner.

“Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert’s last marriage was to Debrah Miceli, known as Madusa and Alundra Blayze. Miceli said that, in the short time that she was married to Eddie, that Peggy was always “sweet.”

Staggs recalled that Peggy once told her that she asked Eddie, “Son, are you sure you want to get married again?”

He answered, “Mama, I’m going to be like Elizabeth Taylor and marry all the girls.”

“Peggy and I laughed about it, as that would be something he would say,” said Staggs, who last visited with Peggy three years ago. “We had a nice visit that day. I will always treasure our friendship.”

Peggy recalled Eddie’s early love for the business by stating, “From the time he was in the second grade, his only thing was being a wrestler. His dad and I both tried to talk him into being anything else. After he got older, got in high school, and still was determined, then his daddy started to help him. He loved journalism and we had hoped to push him in that direction, but it didn’t work. After Tommy saw that he was bound and determined, he got him all the help that he could.”

“Eddie graduated high school and began wrestling for us,” explained Jerry Jarrett to this writer in 2011. “Tommy had done a great job getting Eddie ready because he was a natural from his first match. I was very flattered one night when I was talking to Eddie about his career. I encouraged him to remember that active wrestling was fun, but would not last very long. I suggested that if he got into the creative side of the business, it could last a lifetime. Eddie reminded me that I had first been a wrestler, and he wanted to know every side of the business like I did. I relied on Eddie for ideas for the matches he was involved with.”

Although not a wrestler, Mama Peggy would make the occasional appearance at the wrestling matches, including with Randy Hales’ Memphis-based Power Pro Wrestling. She and Tommy would attend wrestling reunions, like the Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunion or Scott Teal’s reunions in Nashville.

Peggy was vocal about her family, faith, and politics. She adored her husband and her children. She also kept the memory of Eddie alive after his passing in 1995 at the young age of 33.

“It’s something that no parent should ever have to go through,” recalled Peggy to writer Steve Johnson. “Unfortunately, it happens every day. It was a total nightmare. There’s always that void.”

“She treated me like family. When I visited, we talked a lot about Eddie, and she loved showing photos of him. She also would make it a point to take me to visit his grave,” said Staggs, adding that after Tommy died in 2015, the cemetery visits would include her husband too.

Tommy and Peggy Gilbert with a photo of Eddie Gilbert. Facebook photo

Tommy and Peggy Gilbert with a photo of Eddie Gilbert. Facebook photo

In 2011, the Cauliflower Alley Club honored the Gilberts with the prestigious Family Award, and prior to the award, profiled the family: All in the family: The Gilberts story. Peggy Gilbert shared her appreciation with this reporter as well as an open invite to her home.

“Thank you for the story on my family, you did an outstanding job on their life and professional history,” wrote Peggy via email. “I am very familiar with Cookeville, TN. I go to a lot of conventions, state and city meetings and etc. there. It is a nice area of TN. If you are ever in our part of the state (West TN), please stop by for a visit.”

Peggy Gilbert will be interred beside both Tommy and Eddie at the Lexington Cemetery. A picture of Eddie wearing a title belt while holding a crown adorns the tombstone with the engraving: You are now wrestling for the greatest booker of all times.

Doug Gilbert with his mother, Peggy, in late 2022. Facebook photo

Doug Gilbert with his mother, Peggy, in late 2022. Facebook photo

According to the official obituary, she is survived by her son and daughter, Doug Gilbert (Melissa) and Kim Gilbert; grandchildren, Casey Wood and Cody Wood (Hannah); great grandchildren, Stephanie Hollowell, Levi, MacKenzie Wood, and Joanna Marie Wood; her sister and brother in law, Patsy and Jerry MacAlexander; and her brother in law, Bobby Gilbert (Evelyn).

— with files from Steve Johnson and Greg Oliver

TOP PHOTO: Tommy and Peggy Gilbert and Melissa and Doug Gilbert at the Cauliflower Alley Club Baloney Blowout, April 19, 2011, in Las Vegas at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. Photo by Joyce Paustian


All in the family: The Gilberts story

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