Margaret “Peggy” Loeffler, PhD (1921 – 2016)
For Immediate Release
Contact: Marcy K. Krever, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 212-358-1250 x323
American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003-2163
Margaret “Peggy” Loeffler, PhD, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 94, in the company of her family in Austin, Texas.
Honoured as the American Montessori Living Legacy in 1996, Peggy’s career in Montessori spanned decades.
In 1959, along with Bee Pape, she started a parish preschool at All Soul's Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City, OK. Founded on Montessori principles, the school later became the Primary Division of Casady School, where Peggy was director for 29 years.
In the 1960s, Peggy served on AMS’s first Board of Directors. She also served on the Educational Advisory Council of (now former) Oklahoma Governor David Boren and on an Early Education Advisory Group for the Johnson White House, and was both a Fulbright Scholar and a visiting researcher at Dr. Noam Chomsky’s lab at Harvard University.
In 1962 – 63, Peggy and Dr. Sylvia Richardson obtained funding for 2 years to train teachers at the Oklahoma Medical School’s Child Study Center and the Early Childhood development division at Casady School. In 1966, OCU made the master’s degree in education with American Montessori Society certification a permanent part of their degree offerings. Peggy later served as the academic director of this program.
In 1972, Peggy founded Rainbow Fleet, a non-profit dedicated to making the best Early Childhood teaching methods available to all teachers, parents, and childcare professionals. Forty years later, this organization continues to serve the community, with a mobile toy lending library and a Child Care Resource Center staffed by a variety of specialist consultants.
In 1982, Dr. Peggy Loeffler received her doctorate degree from the University of Oklahoma for her dissertation entitled “An investigation of the relationship of proto-writing and cognitive development in young children.”
Dr. Loeffler was a highly sought-after lecturer and consultant on Early Childhood development well into her 80s. She worked through the National Association of Independent Schools and the American Montessori Society to help schools set up programs similar to the one she pioneered at Casady. She wrote and edited many publications on Early Childhood education, including her book, Montessori in Contemporary American Culture,” published in 1992.
In 1995, Peggy and her husband, Walter, retired to Naples, Florida, where they enjoyed the warm weather and beautiful beaches for 12 years, before moving to Austin, Texas, to be closer to family. Peggy was an active member of a writing club in Naples, and the club members would often Skype with her after she moved to Austin, to catch up and to share their recent writings.
Peggy is preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, Walter Barnes Loeffler, and her grandson Corbin Carroll. She is survived by her 3 children—Barney, Lynne, and Scott, all of whom are Casady alumni—and their spouses. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Peggy will also be remembered not only as an important educator and colleague, but as a loving wife, sibling, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to all in her family.
There will be a closed family ceremony on May 27, and Peggy will be interred next to Walter at All Souls' Episcopal Church, 6400 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City, where she founded her preschool more than 50 years ago.
There will be a remembrance register on www.legacy.com.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to http://rainbowfleet.org/.