Peg Midyette

Peg Midyette died on Sunday, March 6, 2022, surrounded by family at her daughter’s home in Middleburg, VA.

She is survived by her daughter Meg Barber, her son-in-law Luke Barber, her granddaughter Emerson Barber, and her two sisters Ginny Coslow and Pat Wilson.

Due to COVID-19, her funeral was delayed and is now scheduled for 10am on Monday, August 22 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Beaufort, NC.

Peg quietly pushed boundaries throughout her lifetime. She earned two Masters degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill, one as part of the first class in which women were admitted to graduate-level programs. She began her career teaching in small towns near the Triangle, where she devoted herself to establishing racial equity in the classroom. She dedicated her decades-long career in education to helping children with learning and developmental differences. Over the course of her career, she taught at the Hill Learning Development Center in Durham, NC, helped start the Oakwood School in Greenville, NC, and taught special education at Morehead primary school just prior to her retirement in Beaufort, NC. The impact she made on her community, on the state, and on the world was not small.

Peg’s impact on her own family was just as substantial. Her loving nature and kind heart, her wish to help, and her character all made life better. She made hard times survivable. She made good times even better. Her laughter was infectious and her smile warm. Her sense of humor was ever-present and so was her compassion.

As the wife of an Episcopal priest, Peg retired from church attendance much at the same time her husband retired from the priesthood, stating to all who dared ask why that she’d “done her time and God understood.” She had no tolerance for long sermons or slow organ pieces – they showed lack of preparation. She spent much of her married life not knowing who was sleeping in the guest room. And from childbirth to menopause, she faced all of life’s many changes under the curious eyes of many congregations. In recompense for a life that afforded little privacy and a lot of scrutiny, Peg’s husband took her on an annual pilgrimage to Fine Feathers clothiers in Chapel Hill, where he did his own penance sitting in a cushioned chair watching his wife try on dresses.

Peg loved the beach, good jewelry, Dewar’s with a splash, and Winston lights 100. She wore pantyhose daily and quite possibly to bed. She gardened in tennis skirts with a hose in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She played bridge assertively and with strategy, and she vanished behind the steering wheel whenever she drove uphill.

Peg believed you should always stand up for the underdog, and that there was no excuse for meanness… not even death. She believed in having friends over and drinks on the porch. She believed in God and that menopause exists to show us all that even God makes mistakes. She felt kid gloves were for cotillions and balls, but not boardrooms. She believed in women – in their agency and their value. She believed in children – in valuing their lives and cultivating their personhood.

Peg surrounded herself with strong, smart, witty, faithful friends, and all of us were the richer for it. She used to say that you can try your best, and angels can do no more… and it was this life philosophy, and her many kind friends, that helped her family navigate her illness and bear the loss of such an extraordinary and loving woman.

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