Beth Peck: generous, graceful, genuine
Tusten Historical Society Charter Member Beth Peck passed peacefully on Monday, June 7, 2021.
By JANE LUCHSINGER
If asked to give an adjective to …
Tusten Historical Society Charter Member Beth Peck passed peacefully on Monday, June 7, 2021.
By JANE LUCHSINGER
If asked to give an adjective to best describe Beth, one would not be enough. This was clearly demonstrated at the June 17 church service at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church honoring the life of Beth. The speaker asked those present to give one word to describe Beth. Words came easily to those sitting in the pews and the list seemed endless, yet always appropriate.
Beth Rosencranse Peck was born in Beach Lake, PA and began her education in a one-room schoolhouse there. She graduated from the Narrowsburg High School and continued her education at the Wayne County Commercial School in Honesdale, PA. She took a job with the Wayne Independent newspaper, which no doubt began her love of newspapers. She was the founding member of the Tusten Times, Inc., the original publisher of The River Reporter. She believed in the necessity of a local paper and supported the growth of this fledgling periodical. She recalled that there were times she would run to the bank to “spot” a loan to cover “payroll” in the early days of the paper.
The Pecks lived in Arizona for several years, eventually during which time Beth’s husband, Art, had learned about the grocery business. They returned east to their roots with four children in tow and purchased the Oellrich and Behling market on Main Street in Narrowsburg in 1963, establishing Peck’s Market, with that enterprise growing into four store locations.
When Beth’s childhood friend, Grace Johansen, confessed she felt she needed to move away from Narrowsburg with her family, Beth inquired, “Why?” Grace, who had married, and lived out of the area for several years before returning with a large family, told Beth, “I can’t live in a town without a library.” That was all Beth had to hear, and both she and Grace, with the help of others, began a small library on Main Street. It was clear the library was a success in the community. In 1990, Beth and Art built and gifted the now Tusten-Cochecton library building on land donated by the Town of Tusten. In her retirement years, Beth served on the board of directors of the library.
Beth believed in many facets of volunteerism to support community needs. She served on the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance Board of Directors and dedicated many hours to volunteering to serve the needs and community events sponsored by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Narrowsburg.
Her community support was demonstrated by not only becoming a charter member of the library but also a founding member of the Tusten Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Tusten Historical Society (THS). She was generous in her support of the THS. When the need for a banner became apparent, by the next meeting, Beth presented a new banner that was proudly displayed whenever the THS was in the public eye. She was often the face behind the table set with THS displays and books at local fairs. For many years, she served as the secretary of the THS and was a frequent contributor to the Tusten Roots publication. Often, Beth was the person to keep the Tusten Roots publication on track, scheduling meetings for the editorial staff of Roots and arranging for all the steps necessary to complete an issue and get it in the mail.
We can only hope that the citizenship Beth demonstrated will be an example for all to follow.
We at the Tusten Historical Society will truly miss Beth Peck. Her shoes will be difficult to fill and her presence is irreplaceable.
By LAURIE STUART
Beth Peck was a life-time supporter—whether it was for the paper, the church, the ambulance squad, the historical society, the library, the arts alliance, her business, her family, her friends, or the people that she loved.
I don’t know if Beth felt proud of The River Reporter. I never thought to ask.
I do know that she loved it and was a faithful reader. Her daughter, Alison, tells a story of how part of their Thursday conversations throughout the years was a discussion of what was in the paper. Alison relates that her mother would get the paper earlier on a Thursday in Narrowsburg than she did in Honesdale; Beth would then tell her all about what was in it. She says that, sometimes, she wished her mother wouldn’t spoil her experience of reading the local news for herself. Occasionally, Alison would relate something that her mother had not seen. And just like that, Beth would put the conversation on hold and go to her recycling pile, locate the paper and find whatever story Alison was referring to.
Such was the support of Beth Peck, who lived her life heart first, intricately connected to her intellect.
She was not without her heartbreak, losing both her husband and two or her four children. While, of course, she grieved the losses, she dwelled in faithful living.
There will never be a replacement. Never. She was a once-in-a-lifetime person.
Beth Peck was one of those people for The River Reporter. Beth Peck was a once-in-a-lifetime person for many.
She was a lifetime supporter and mother of all good things.
In her living, we are grateful.
A beautiful lady has left our midst, but memories will persist.
She was so gracious and kind, with attributes one can rarely find.
She was devoted to do good in this world, that was her text,
She will surely be lovingly greeted in the next.
Her love of family and friends can’t go without merit, it is something most cannot inherit.
So goodbye to a most beautiful lady, your memory will never be forgotten.
You did your share for the human race, you will be hard to ever replace.
My first interaction with Beth was when I started taking care of her daughter, Arden, one of my best friends.
I came to know Beth as a friend with her frequent visits at Arden’s. After Arden’s passing, I would visit Beth and sometimes go out to lunch or just have wonderful visits at her home. I loved her as much as I loved my own mother.
Our last communication was on my birthday when she sent me this wonderful card.
I will never forget her kindness and love!
Hope all is well with you. I get my second shot May 28. Hope we can then have a visit.
Think of you often and what a blessing you’ve been to our family.
By ANDREA HENLEY HEYN
When I first began writing for The River Reporter back in the early ’80s, editor Glenn Pontier had a great piece of advice for me. “Choose one person, one representative person to write for, someone intelligent, someone who knows the area, who is curious and open to new ideas,” he said. “I write to Beth Peck.”
Great advice from a terrific editor about a unique person. At that time, Beth was just becoming a pillar of the community. She and Art worked incredibly hard at the store and, when they had enough for their own needs, they began to give back to the community that came to their store. They were early supporters of The River Reporter (even during very difficult times when the river valley was awash in strife and conflict), the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the historical society, the library, St. Paul’s Luthern Church—I’m sure there are many other organizations and individuals who benefitted from their generosity.
I only knew Beth casually. I’ve been good friends with members of her family. From my vantage point, she was a humble beauty, a quiet mover and shaker, a disciplined fun-lover, thrifty but generous. Beth remained the kind, conscientious curious woman that she had been so long ago. She would still be a good person to write for.
By ELAINE GIGUERE
Beth had an uncanny ability to see the potential in people and projects. She wasn’t afraid to ask questions and, once satisfied with a reasonable answer, she threw her support behind them. Some of her support was quiet and behind the scenes, but she also stepped up to fill the void when her family or community needed her. Having seen her in so many roles in the community, I can only hope to emulate her vitality and influence.
By PASTOR PHYLLIS HAYNES
When I was sitting up in the chancel listening to words being called out to describe our Beth Peck, one word kept coming into my mind: faithful. Beth was faithful to her family, her friends, her neighbors, her community, her church and God. She was always there—wherever “there” needed to be—for all these people.
I met Beth Peck when I first met with the Call Committee of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church back in the fall of 1995. She was the lector at the service the Sunday the congregation voted on calling me. She served in that capacity for a very long time before she finally had to give it up.
She amazed me when I started hearing how much this wonderful lady did for our congregation. I know I can’t name them all, but here are a few: altar guild (member and treasurer), church council, fellowship fair committee (member and treasurer), chicken barbecue, bratwurst dinner, lector, special finance committee member, Katie’s Cafe, and many more. Not to mention the things that have no official title.
Everything Beth did was with a smile, grace and patience, even when she was not happy with the person involved. (Here, I can’t help but think of when someone took her purse after church when she was clearing the altar! Too long a story to include here.)
Beth did all this because she was faith-filled. God and her church was important to her—she used her many and varied talents for the good of this congregation. Beth showed that faith with everything she did for, in and with this congregation. She is missed, but we know that Beth is with God, waiting to greet us with that wonderful smile when we, in our turn, follow her to God.
By KATIE SUIB
We called her “Grandy,” a name she adopted for herself, fittingly, from a book she read at some point before my oldest cousins were born. Grandy loved the written word as she loved her family, Narrowsburg and God.
I can’t see a library without thinking of Grandy, who shared her love of reading through gifts of books and magazines with her family and through the gift of the Tusten-Cochecton Library building with her community. I can’t see a newspaper clipping without thinking of Grandy, who could rarely get through a paper without clipping and sharing items of interest with friends and family, and who often reflected fondly on her time as a young newspaperwoman. I can’t write a letter without thinking of Grandy, who wrote long correspondence in lovely penmanship that overflowed onto paper inserts and around the back of stationery, adorned with flowers by Jill Mackie or interiors by Frank Holmes or teddy bears by Hallmark. I can’t drive by St. Paul’s Church or the old Narrowsburg School without thinking of Grandy, who loved humanity through dedication to her community, and who actively but gracefully strove to make the world a kinder, gentler, better place.
Grandy was a quietly phenomenal woman, and the pessimist in me wants to believe the world is worse without Grandy in it. But I know in my heart that Grandy, being who she was, left the world better than she found it. The greatest gift that we as family, friends, neighbors, Narrowsburgians and citizens of the world could give in her honor is to be better, kinder and more generous of heart in our communities and to each other.