She was a force to be reckoned with. And one of the most caring forces you would ever know. She was a friend, colleague, mentor, and perhaps her most important role in our lives, the mother of our two godchildren. Peggy was the first woman ordained an Episcopal priest south of the Mason Dixon line in 1978. The number of lives she touched, transformed, mentored, and nurtured is countless, and some even unknown. She and her husband, Dennis, another touchstone in our lives, and the priest that led me through the process toward ordination, helped a few others officially "introduce" me to the Diocese of Olympia at my consecration in September 2007. It was the greatest honor to have them there. Had Peggy and Dennis been given the opportunity, they would have surely been able to tell some stories! Shortly after that Peggy received her diagnosis. Not long after that, my wife and I talked to both of them, and we asked Peggy what she needed from us. She did not miss a beat and said, "Just love my babies."
Peggy died at the age of 60, this past Saturday, December 13th. Ironically, that same day, just hours after she died, our son, Austin was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. A few weeks ago as we checked in with Dennis we had told him about Austin' s big day on the 13th of December and he had assured us that we would be in their prayers. We remarked upon hearing the news, that Peggy had once again taken our request straight to the source, this time the source of all things. My son has vowed, along with the other vows he took on Saturday, to learn as much as he can about Peggy and to always remember her when he remembers this day. While I wish, as much as I could wish anything, that it were not so, since it is, I am thankful my son will have this day, and this great saint of the Episcopal Church, and of our faith, to carry with him on this journey. Her family reports that she was watching "It's a Wonderful Life" at the time of her death. She reminded so many through her life and ministry of that very truth, that it is a wonderful life. She certainly reminded the Rickels of that and for the moment, it is just very difficult to imagine this life without her in it. Your prayers for Dennis, the children, and all who grieve her loss would be a gift to me.