Peggy Reneau of White Rock passed away on September 15, 2022, of complications that followed treatment for lymphoma. She was born Margaret Ruth Youngman on September 11, 1952, and raised on a farm in Winfield, Iowa. She was an athletic girl, playing basketball and running in high school, as well as playing saxophone in the marching band.
Peggy had multiple careers in her life, starting in the medical field after graduating from the Medical Institute of Minnesota in 1971. Escaping the cold winters of the Midwest, she moved to Arizona in 1978 where she developed new interests and new lifelong friendships. A notable event occurred in March 1979, when she and her 2 housemates, friends she met on a girl’s softball team, held a St. Patrick’s Day party in their backyard in Mesa. They became the core of the Awhoo! Sisters, which grew into a clan of 12 fun-loving women. The Sisters and their huge extended family continue an annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Tempe’s Papago Park to this day.
While attending Arizona State University, Peggy took geology classes and decided that volcanoes were the coolest thing on the planet. After getting a Bachelor’s degree in geology at ASU in 1986, she wanted to study volcanology at the University of Hawaii but wasn’t accepted. Instead, she had to accept a scholarship to U.C. Berkeley as a consolation prize. Within weeks she met Steve Reneau and they became mutually enchanted with each other. After Steve moved to Los Alamos as a postdoc in October 1988, Peggy followed in December and finished writing her Master’s thesis in New Mexico. They were married May 21, 1989, in glorious sunshine on Three Tree Hill at Pepperwood Ranch in northern California, on the crest of the mountains between Calistoga and Santa Rosa.
In Los Alamos Peggy rekindled an interest in stained glass she had developed in Arizona. She became a founding member of both the Los Alamos Artists Studio Tour and the Galeria el Jardin, a cooperative gallery in Cuyamungue, and won awards at the New Mexico Glass Artists’ Exhibition, including “Best of Show” in 1995. Through her business, Pegasus Stained Glass, she made much beautiful artwork that is still treasured by many.
After working in Los Alamos for environmental firms, she and a friend started their own company, PeaK Technical Consulting (for Peggy and Kelly). It focused on environmental regulatory compliance, and clients included Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Kirtland Air Force Base. She ran it until her retirement in 2007.
Peggy always loved flowers, and after retirement she became a Master Gardener, developing the Emoji Garden and the Agastache Garden at the Los Alamos Demonstration Garden. She also helped redesign the Ornamental Grass Garden. She had a talent for adopting places that were abandoned and ugly and making them beautiful. For her work, she was given an honorary lifetime membership in the Los Alamos Master Gardeners in 2021.
Peggy also loved to travel, and she and Steve shared trips to many wonderful parts of the world. Some of the highlights included island hopping in the Aegean Sea of Greece (a 10th anniversary trip); hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru; snorkeling and sea kayaking in Palau; touring the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in a small boat with an archaeologist for a guide and an amazing on-board chef (the best trip ever); experiencing lemurs and chameleons in Madagascar; and an excursion to Africa including up-close encounters with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, viewing giraffes, cheetahs, and many other creatures on the Serengeti in Tanzania, and a 4-day African music festival at the old Stone Fort on the island of Zanzibar.
She is survived by her loving husband, Steve Reneau of White Rock; her mother Mary Gilbert, her sister Pat Williams, and her brother Rand Youngman of Winfield, Iowa; her brother Wayne Youngman of Elverta, Alabama; her sister Mary Kay Dyal of Phoenix, Arizona; and many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Peggy had a great spirit, a beautiful smile, and a knack for making lasting friendships wherever she lived. She is dearly missed. Donations in her memory can be made to the Pajarito Environmental Education Center or the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Española in support of this amazing planet we live on and the creatures we share it with.