Phyllis R (Rands) PeckNovember 28, 1925 ~ March 16, 2017 (age 91)
Phyllis Elizabeth (Rands) Peck, age 91, passed away peacefully at Sunrise Assisted Living in Cohasset on March 16, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband of 71 years, Douglas R. Peck, and her sister, Frances Beery. Devoted father of Judith E. Mitchell and husband John of Plymouth, Virginia F. Peck of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and Robert R. Peck of Oakland, CA. Proud grandmother of Laura, Timothy, Joshua, Alissa, Schyler and Ian; and great grandmother of Bobby and Jack. She is survived by her sister, Audrey Hefner, of Lake Wales, Florida, and her brother, Robert D. Rands Jr., of St. Louis, MO.
Phyllis was born on November 27, 1925 to Minnie (Frost) and Robert D. Rands in Washington, DC. Growing up, she performed in many plays, including some written by her mother. At 17 she followed her best friend, Bunny, to Pennsylvania State University, where she continued taking starring roles in college productions. As the heroine in "Love Rides the Rails", she met fellow performer, Doug Peck, who soon won her hand. After the war, they returned to Penn State with daughter, Judy, and then moved to Virginia with Doug's first job. Daughter, Virginia, was born as they were heading for Tennessee, and son, Bob, followed soon after. In later years, they lived in New Jersey, California, Brussels, Belgium, Tennessee again, and finally retired to Massachusetts, to be near their two daughters.
Over those years, Phyllis was a force of nature in many spheres. She was an accomplished seamstress, making her sister's wedding dress and her daughter's prom dresses. She was instrumental in designing and stitching the seat cushions for her Methodist Church in Tennessee.
She was a creative cook, and left behind boxes of cookbooks filled with notations about whether Doug liked the dish and how to improve it. She created menus for entertaining friends, Doug's business colleagues and for family gatherings, where people enjoyed beautiful table settings and her own floral centerpieces as well as her delicious cooking.
She was a master gardener and flower arranger, and brought the beauty of plants to both outer and interior spaces wherever she lived, following in the footsteps of her beloved mother, Minnie. She served as a president of every garden club she joined across the country. A past president of the Community Garden Club of Cohasset, she held the title of Master Landscape Design Consultant Emeritus. She and Doug were instrumental in designing, planting and upkeep of the Cohasset Lighthouse Keeper's grounds.
She worked as a travel agent for several years, which gave her the opportunity to visit many areas of the world. In retirement, Phyllis and Doug continued to travel widely in the US and abroad, even going to China, when it first opened to tourists again, for their 50th wedding anniversary. They enjoyed numerous Elder Hostel tours, often traveling with her old friend, Bunny, and her husband. She was always open to new places and things.
When her family was younger she and Doug took them on skiing trips and two wonderful hiking trips in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She led Brownie and Girl Scout troops. In her last years, when Alzeimer's had robbed her of movement and speech, she visibly brightened when her daughters sang her the songs she had transcribed in her Brownie Leader's Handbook.
While in Palos Verdes, CA, Phyllis and Doug took sailing and navigation courses and bought a sailboat. They enjoyed taking friends and family out for sails on the Pacific, but because they loved traveling and seeing new things, they never replaced the boat when they moved East.
She decorated many items with her designs, including a set of dining room chairs and many large trays. Her oil and watercolor paintings are treasured heirlooms.
She was an active member of the Second Congregational Church in Cohasset, and brought historical family quilts to their quilt shows. Backed by the genealogical research done by her parents and herself, she became a member of the DAR, riding on their Fourth of July float in full colonial garb.
A memorial service will be celebrated on Saturday, June 3 at 12 noon in the Second Congregational Church, Highland Avenue, Cohasset, MA 02025. Relatives and friends are invited. Private interment at the Church of the Pilgrimage, Plymouth, will occur later. In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Phyllis may be made to the charity of your choice.