Margaret "Peggy" Holman East Lansing, MI

Margaret "Peggy" Holman East Lansing, MI Margaret "Peggy" Holman's wise and gentle soul passed from her body early Tuesday morning, April 18th, after a four-month struggle with pancreatic cancer. "It's hard to be a human," Peggy was known to say, expressing the universal empathy she brought to life and work, which made her confidant and peacemaker wherever she went. She was born on summer solstice, June 21 1940 in Evanston, Illinois where she grew up, to Clive and Margaret Bishop, a family which included elder brother Robert ("Bob"). She was never happier than with her archaeologist's trowel in hand, sifting the dirt of ages for clues to our common humanity. She brought stability to the "Holman Tribe," the blended family formed July 10, 1974 by her marriage to devoted husband and friend, J. Alan Holman, which included his sons Robert, Ray and Mike Holman, and her son Jeff Rogers (by her first marriage to Chester B. Rogers). The family grew to include Ray's wife Erica and daughter Hadley, Mike's wife April and children Heidi Joy, Emily, Samuel and Victoria, and Jeff's wife Elise. She is survived also by very close friend, Patty Whittier and by her dog Dodger. With a supportive and non-judgmental hand, she raised her sons to be happy and successful each in their own way. She learned sign language to better communicate with her deaf step-son Mike, giving him the special support he needed to thrive in a world that didn't always understand him. Her exploits as Grandma included being sole stilt-walker at Ralya Elementary's Grandparents Day. She brought wit, imagination, a love of personal ritual, and creative phrase-making to the most mundane tasks, making daily life a small adventure for those who loved her (a mere dinner of leftovers came alive as "silly smorgasboard" or "lucky leftovers"). As scientist and philosopher she was a champion of the open mind, as demonstrated by her quotation "The trouble with a pet hypothesis is that you have to feed it," cited on page 189 of the book In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates. She never boasted of her accomplishments, which included her BA in Political Science from University of Cincinnati; MS in Archaeology from Western Michigan University; and 2nd MS and PhD in Archaeology from Michigan State. She edited the journal The Michigan Archaeologist for ten years; published over 30 scientific papers; edited a multi-author book; and co-authored The Michigan Roadside Naturalist with her husband, a respected paleontologist and herpetologist. She was Adjunct Professor of Archaeology in the Anthropology Department at MSU and served on MS and PhD committees. She worked at the MSU Museum and did contract archaeology for the state of Michigan. As a teacher, she had the gift of touching individual minds, even in the several classes of 250+ students she taught at MSU, where she made learning enjoyable and personal. She was both loved and respected. She made friends of professional rivals and people of widely varying political and religious beliefs. She was an avid, eclectic reader whose tastes ran from Austen through Christie to Tolkien; from Winnie-the-Pooh to Wooster and Jeeves. She brought her ceaseless fascination with life and people and her everyday heroism even to the journey through her disease. Early in its progress she declared, "I'm not afraid to die but I love being alive." With her scientist's perspective, she found even her loss of a sense of time near the end "interesting in itself." Ever verbal, her creative and questing mind took flight at times during her last few days, when she spoke of "dreamspace condos" and "swimming in a sea of pure air." She kept courage to the end, and will live in the memories and lives of those she touched and shaped in her unique way. Funeral services will be held Friday, April 21, at Noon at the Gorsline-Runciman Funeral Homes, 1730 E. Grand River Avenue, East Lansing. The family will receive friends at the Chapel Friday 1 hour prior to the Service. Interment will follow in Glendale Cemetery, Okemos. Following her burial, a reception will be held at the MSU Museum, West Circle Drive near Beaumont Tower. Charitable contributions in her name can be made to The Michigan Archaeological Society, P.O. Box 359, Saginaw, MI 48606.
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