Updated: Nov 5, 2022
By Carole W and Kari M.
Longtime IN member, Peggy Burch, passed away at the age of 88 on October 19, 2021, in Littleton, Colorado, after a brief illness. Peggy and her husband, Jack, Professor and Curator Emeritus of Mollusks at the UM Museum of Zoology, moved to Littleton to be closer to family three years ago after having lived in Ann Arbor since the mid-1950s; Jack passed away on June 3, 2021. They leave two daughters, in Colorado and California, and two granddaughters in California.
Peggy became active in International Neighbors in the early 1990s, starting out as a Conversation Group leader and as editor for our Bulletin (now known as the Newsletter) from 1993 – 2000. During this time, the Newsletter was printed on paper and sent out to all our members by mail. Peggy included many interesting articles and helpful facts for the membership. From 2003 – 2005 she was our Secretary, taking detailed notes from our monthly Board Meetings. Peggy led her English Conversation Group for almost 30 years, until she moved away from Ann Arbor.
Peggy’s gathering of information to share with her Conversation Group was admired by all who knew her. She made sure her group members were aware of every holiday and season celebrated during the year here in the U.S., frequently adding nice touches to her presentations such as apple tasting in the Fall (with apples from the Farmers Market), sharing chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and giving out shamrock necklaces for St. Patrick’s Day. There were always handouts for class with lists of grocery stores, thrift shops, and restaurants where you could get a free birthday meal or dessert, as well as information about preparing for severe weather, places to visit in Michigan, and how to drive on snow and ice. Peggy actually gave a real-life example of the latter by getting a class member’s car out of the deep snow she was stuck in when we had a meeting at another member’s home – an impressive feat by this lovely lady who was born and bred in Virginia!
Peggy Burch was a regular attendee of our monthly International Days, wearing a traditional Pilgrim costume for many years to greet people at our November Thanksgiving celebration. She was always looking to help new members get involved in the many activities available in the International Neighbors organization, and she kept in touch with many of them after they left to return home or go on to other destinations. This was also true in other areas of Peggy’s life. She was a Golden Member (50+ years) of the UM Faculty Women’s Club and, while she was active in a number of interest sections there, also spent a lot of time getting newcomers involved both in groups and in serving on the Board of Directors. In her husband’s department at UM, she was appreciated for the time and support she gave to new faculty, staff, and graduate students and their families when they moved to Ann Arbor. Peggy was a loving and generous soul, and she is sorely missed by all who were lucky enough to know her.