Margaret (nee King) Van Duyne, known as Peg, 79, died on Feb. 23, 2015 at her Oak Park home in the company of her family. Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, her doctor gave her two years to live if she took chemotherapy. Instead, she lived seven remarkable years forging an alternative healing path, which included an organic alkaline diet, biological medicine, breathing meditation, and Qi Gong.
Born on Aug. 9, 1935 to Cecilia B. King and Edward G. King, she grew up in the community of Fayson Lakes, New Jersey. She and her brothers spent summers competing on the local swim team and winters studying and reading books. She graduated at the top of her class from Butler High School and completed a liberal arts degree at Bryn Mawr College, then earned a master’s degree in communications.
She married Thomas A. Van Duyne, in 1960 in the garden of her childhood home. She worked as a teacher in Wayne Township, New Jersey until they started their family. While raising children, she volunteered in her community of Kinnelon and led the fundraising and creation of the Kinnelon Public Library. In 1972, they resettled in Sudbury, Massachusetts. They enjoyed vegetable and flower gardening and the serenity of their home set adjacent to conservation land. She loved touring guests around the Boston area to important historic sites of the Revolutionary War and the Transcendentalist movement. They also took many courses ranging from pottery making to photography and were members of the First Parish Church of Weston.
In the early 1980s, Peg produced a documentary, Room For All, about welcoming newcomers to this country. As she was working on this project, she became aware of a problem in the Boston area and felt inspired to help. Starting with a small grant of $14,000, she created a nonprofit organization called “One With One” which helped to give displaced people the tools to create new, productive lives. Her simple, innovative approach was to pair each newcomer with an American volunteer who would help their partner learn basic skills to assimilate into the local community and American culture, learn and practice English, and eventually learn how to get jobs. One With One went on to help over 1,700 immigrants from 72 different countries. In addition, the organization taught 500 immigrant women basic English, data entry, writing, and job interviewing skills. Her determination to help Boston newcomers led to the transformation of many lives, and her heartfelt compassion inspired her family and friends.
She and her husband enjoyed traveling within the United States as well as to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and China. With an artistic eye drawn toward flowers, she loved to paint and photograph the gardens of the world.
Peg Van Duyne is survived by her husband, Thomas Van Duyne; her children, Melisande Van Liedekerke, Edward VanDyne and Douglas Van Duyne; her grandchildren, Cassandra VanDyne, Jonathan VanDyne, Matthew Van Liedekerke, Emily Van Liedekerke, Maxim Van Duyne and Zane Van Duyne; her brothers, Theodore B. King, Edward G. King Jr., and Michael P. King; her sister-in-law, Phyllis H. King; and her many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grandnephews.
She loved deeply throughout her life and is cherished heart and soul by those she left behind. A memorial gathering and remembrance will be held at 2 p.m. on March 21, 2015 at Peterson-Bassi Chapels, 6938 W. North Ave. in Chicago.