Obituary for PEGGY BALDWIN
December 10, 1936 – May 26, 2021
By her husband, Don Baldwin
In l963, Peggy and I met on a blind date in front of her Greenwich Village apartment. My best friends had recently met her in a youth hostel in Florence, where Peggy had ventured alone at age 26! Following a wonderful courtship, I excitedly proposed marriage in May of ’64 – simultaneously Peggy being offered a permanent TV role as one of Patty Duke’s “sidekicks!” She chose me! Returning to our native CA, we were married in San Rafael on July 18 by my father and grandfather, both Methodist ministers! A short honeymoon in Carmel followed later at Salmon Creek (near Bodega Bay), a favorite ocean destination for years to come.
Peggy was born Dec. 10, l936, to Howard and Roxie Lang (always proud she was born in SFO!) Peggy attended Oakland’s Glenview Grammar School and Oakland High, excelling in student drama productions. Her love of acting continued for 2 summers, joining College of the Pacific actors performing at the Fallon House Theater in Columbia, CA. A yearning to be on Broadway, all alone – at age 19 – she moved to NY City, graduating from the American Theater Wing. Broadway roles eluded her, but she delighted ushering at dozens of Broadway shows. Success came with summer stock theater in New England, and landing a role in Archibald MacLeish’s play, “J.B.”
Following our marriage, I was appointed pastor of the El Portal Community Church (outside Yosemite). In l965, an unexpected offer came to be the park’s Resident Minister, which we eagerly accepted, the next 4 years allowing us to live beneath the granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley. While I served the Chapel’s congregation and visitors, Peggy continued her love of theater through the Yosemite Arts Council, Both of our beautiful daughters, Eve & Joy, were born in the valley’s clinic. Following an evening Chapel service on ‘silence,’ Peggy exclaimed, “I always knew in my heart that I was a Quaker!”
1969 saw a major change: a move to Lawrence, KS, where I accepted the position of Methodist campus minister at Kansas University. Peggy’s passion for theater arts blossomed, becoming the first Director of a residence hall dedicated entirely to artistic expressions. She directed the first-ever production of the musical, “Free to Be You and Me” – commissioned by Marlo Thomas, who attended the first live performance! Our 7 years at KU were challenging and exciting, with Peggy’s passion for peace encouraged by her on-campus Quaker meeting. Together, countless times, we marched and stood in anti-war candle-light vigils for peace. A year’s sabbatical at the Wallingford PA Quaker Center for contemplation, Pendle Hill, deepened her commitment to prayer and peace.
A major move back to CA occurred in l977, with Methodist churches at Kings Beach & Truckee. The North Tahoe Fine Arts Guild allowed for Peggy’s continued acting, while her work at Robert’s Hardware store in Truckee provided a wonderful experience of community. l984 saw us move to Sacramento, where Peggy studied television communications at Cosumnes River College, graduating Cum Laude and the featured graduation speaker!
In l986, when I accepted an appointment to the Aptos Community United Methodist Church, Peggy continued on for 3 years working in Sacramento television, joining me in Aptos in l989. A beloved participant in the congregation, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, diligently supporting PeaceBuilders, and always ready to serve as host to our homeless guests. Her delight was being a bookseller at the local Bookworks. In l999, my retirement took us to Santa Rosa, where Peggy became active in the local Quaker meeting, again engaging in many actions for peace and justice.
2004 found us moving to Nevada City into our beloved “story-book” home on Gayle Lane, which she loved and diligently cared for. She delighted in feeding ‘her birds’ – and all the varied wildlife: deer, raccoons, fox, skunks, squirrels, and occasional bears! Her special heart for trees led her to lobby with PG&E not to cut any trees without her consent! Her ‘totem’ creature was the beaver: she identified with their determination, drive, industriousness, and dam-building execution. Every river we ever passed, if there were any twigs or broken branches blocking the water, she would exclaim, “That must have been a beaver dam!”
Peggy was passionate; she felt life. She cried over human injury, fires, poverty and injustice. The Quaker Peace & Justice Committee supported her passion for action, as well as did Climate Action Now. Her art love took us to museums, concerts, theater, films and ballet. We shared such beauty in nature, camping at Sierra Buttes, beachside vacations at Golden Sands, kayaking on many lakes, and memorable walks through the Giant Sequoias. How she loved our trips through the San Juan Islands and the colorful SW. “Happiness is being married to your best friend,” and she was that to me for sure- always supportive, even in my darkest hours. I called her, “Peggy Good-Heart” – for that she was!
She delighted in the marriage of our daughter Joy to Troy Simonick – it was a thrilling day. When Eve became very ill in 2019, it took a big toll on her health and happiness. A friend noted a “weariness in her eyes,” and that weariness manifested in a sudden and unexpected heart attack. Joy and I were at her bedside, with Eve on FaceTime, expressing our deepest thanksgiving for her beautiful life and to say our tearful goodbyes. Her last breath and good heart stopped on January 26, 2021. Several years ago, a friend had written, “What love, what benevolent friendship left its pollen in this town? Ah, so Peggy lived here.”
Peggy’s ashes will be scattered at her beloved Hope Valley, on July 18th. Peggy’s parents preceded her in death. Besides myself, her surviving relatives include her daughters, Eve and Joy, her sister Linda Bishop (Floyd), their daughters Lisa and Rebecca Potter, and cousins Joan Verlnden (John), Greg Lang (Ruth) and Bob Wright (Judy). A memorial celebration of her life will be held this Sunday, June 6th, 4pm, at the Sierra Friends Center, 13075 Woolman Ln., Nevada City, CA 95959. Memorial gifts may be sent to Utah’s Place (Hospitality House) or to the National Audubon Society. Feel free to email me if you’d like more information::email@example.com
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