Gwendolyn Peachey78, teacher, volunteer, world traveler

By on May 2, 2012

Gwendolyn Wenger Peachey, of Lititz, died Monday, April 23, 2012 at the age of 78 after a six-month illness.

Gwen was born in Duchess, Alberta, Canada, Feb. 9, 1934.

Gwen was the second daughter of Irvin S. Wenger and Alice Indergaard Wenger (both deceased) of Mirror, Alberta. She was married to Urbane Peachey on July 4, 1958, in Mirror, Alberta.

Gwen received her high school diploma in Mirror. She studied at the University of Alberta and Eastern Mennonite University, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts in elementary education. She received her master’s degree in early childhood education from Millersville University in 1982 and was certified as a reading teacher. Her teaching career included one year in Montana, two years in Savage Elementary School, Maryland, and two years at Lampeter Elementary School. From 1981 to 1994 she taught in the Ephrata Area School District, Clay Elementary School, where she taught third grade.

Gwen and Urbane, with their children, lived in Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan, 1970-75, where they served with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Gwen supervised several kindergartens in Palestine refugee camps, which were affiliated with the United Nations Relief Works Agency and served as a consultant for various preschool centers in Jordan. Gwen enjoyed and became skilled in Palestinian cross-stitch embroidery. She enjoyed singing, creative writing and the reading of stories; she recorded many of her life stories, preserved for her family. She was an active member of a life writers group, an avid reader and book club member.

Lancaster Chamber Singers, Lancaster/Franconia Choral Singers, Berkshire (Mass.) Choral Institute, where she sang major choral works for 16 years, were highlights in her life.

Gwen and Urbane traveled widely including Canada, Latin America, Soviet Union, the Middle East and Europe. She appreciated and documented the genealogies of her Norwegian mother and her Pennsylvania Wenger father.

Gwen was a lifelong member of Akron Mennonite Church and most recently Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster. In earlier years she was a regular walker in the Ephrata Church World Service CROP walk and an advocate for the marginalized. She was an active volunteer with Morning Out On Orange Street (MOOS) (a before school Program for children at Fulton Elementary School in Lancaster).

Most recently, she was an active member of pastoral team at Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster. Gwen gave high priority to the lives of her grandchildren who she adored, expressed in care giving, hosting and attendance at their events. She practiced an open-hearted and an inquiring faith in God. She was a trusted friend and listener and a spirited marriage partner.

She was a devoted Canadian, born of American parents. She was socially aware and was actively interested in and concerned about local and global affairs. On the lighter side, she gave priority to MASH and Jeopardy.

They had three children: Charles Eric, (deceased), husband of Marcella Hostetler; Kirsten Jonelle, partner of Alicia Gingrich; and Michael Patrick, husband of Jana King. Marcella (Marcy) remarried Lamont Garber and they with their daughters are family.

Gwen is survived by her husband: Urbane Peachey; and her siblings: Carol Martin, Rae Hackman, Donna Carle, John Wenger, Rowland Wenger and Colin Wenger, all residents of Alberta, Canada; seven grandchildren: Liam Peachey, son of Kirsten and Alicia; Lydia, Erik, Adam and Paul Peachey, children of Michael and Jana; and Madeline and Maia Garber, daughters of Marcella and Lamont.

A visitation and a memorial service were held on April 29 at Akron Mennonite Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, designated for MOOS, 328 West Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17603 or Lancaster Chamber Singers, P. O. Box 9034, Lancaster, PA 17604.

Arrangements were made by Stradling Funeral Homes Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at

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