Peggy Eugenia Bourland Granacki DeMarco
Peggy DeMarco (84) has retired (again, but this time for real) on the otherwise bright and clear Spring morning of April 6 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass.
Born Peggy Eugenia Bourland on the 14th of August, 1936 in Manila, Arkansas, where her parents, Joe and Gertrude, eventually gave up on their tornado-stricken cotton patch (Oh, the stories she could tell!) sometime around 1950, when the Bourland family moved to Chicago. It was there that she met and married John Granacki, who preceded her in ascension, but not before they raised four children together, all of whom survive: a daughter, Janice Rae Munro (66), and the Granacki brothers -- John "Jackie" Leland (62), Joseph Price (55), and Jeffrey Carl (almost 50), all of whom live in either Grants Pass or Rogue River, as does step-son, Richard DeMarco (50-ish). She also took pride in 12 grand-children (Kevin, Kimberly, and Kelly Munro; Elijah Hightower, Guinivere (died in infancy), Carl and Amanda Granacki; Elise Sennett; Kylyn Bale, Gina and Annie Granacki; Anthony, Victoria, and Dawne (deceased) DeMarco) plus an ever-expanding legion of great-grandchildren (Nicholas, Kyle, Anthony, Katalina, Mitsuko, Yumiko, Isadora, Aurora, and Savannah) and great-great-grandchildren (Joseph, Audrey, Joshua, and Alaric). Peggy also leaves behind three sisters: Rita Demann Barnes, Marilyn Plescia, and Brenda Furtado, all of whom live in Arizona.
Moving to California in 1960 and later to Oregon, after a couple of decades vacationing regularly at Indian Mary Park, Peggy and John split up, only to re-marry twice with similar results. After the third attempt they said "never again," although it's often said that in the afterlife anything is possible. For several years she was married to Bruce DeMarco (79) of Grants Pass, having met in college while earning her Associate's degree and with whom she remained close friends. A Den Mother for Cub Scouts and a Troop Leader of Brownies and Girl Scouts, she was also active in several church groups and served as a Board Member & Treasurer of the Town Center Association. She enjoyed and excelled at cooking, crafting, collecting, card-playing, and camping, among several pastimes beginning with other letters, such as a brief flirtation with guitar playing and a lifelong obsession with gardening -- indeed, in the early 1980s she was one of the Saturday Growers' Market's earliest vendors, showing up with pea starts each year on opening day.
Working steadily as a waitress throughout early adulthood Peggy always gravitated more toward antiques, of all the preposterous things, one of the most highly recommended businesses to avoid! Nevertheless, after many years of picking for other vendors she started selling her refurbished and restored found-items at antique shows and "The Prune Rack," a shop she and her sister Marilyn opened in mid-1970s Los Gatos. Soon she discovered antique malls -- first founding "Southside Antiques" with three co-partners in Morgan Hill, California, and then renting a booth at "6th Street Antiques" in Grants Pass not long after moving to Oregon, where she also opened a Second Hand store in the Wimer City Hall building across from the Old Covered Bridge. With a powerful sense of what strange things otherwise-normal people would buy, Peggy started getting serious attention at "6th Street" after presenting a double-tiered rack of laying boxes which she'd extracted from a retired chicken coop, gently wiped down and waxed, but leaving cute little patches of chicken poop "patina." Everyone laughed, at first, but before a week had passed it was sold, and it didn't go cheep! She was also a pioneer in selling wooden Coca-Cola boxes (thousands of them!) as knick-knack display cases, and converting vintage washboards into kitchen towel racks, both of which would become nationwide fads. Coffee tables, made to her specifications from old french doors or wood & glass window frames by her son Joe, sold significantly better than hotcakes, one of them appearing on the network television show Twin Peaks.
So yes, looooong before Peggy began her business studies at RCC (at the urging of Brady Adams, back when she was the receptionist at Coalition for Kids) she had already decided that antique dealing was her thing. So, shortly prior to graduation, she opened "Park Place Antique Mall" in the 'Y' at the South end of town, which she sold a few years later in order to open "Old Town Antique Mall," smack dab in the middle of the Downtown Historic District. Not only was Peggy phenomenally successful in all that she set out to do, but through her tutelage, leadership, and well-deserved reputation for fairness she was able to inspire and mentor literally hundreds of others to follow their passions -- especially those who were impassioned by antiques! Always into family first, antiques ran a close second, and she would merge the two whenever possible, ultimately getting her parents, sisters, husbands and children involved. Not surprisingly, when finally deciding to retire and pass the Old Town Mall to her daughter Janice, Peggy was unable to follow through, continuing to work at the shop almost daily until starting "The Big Y Swap Meet" a few years later, which was eventually turned over to her son Joe -- but again she wouldn't quit working, continuing to show up well into her late seventies. After she did finally settle into retirement there were scant few who actually believed it, and whenever anything new was afoot in a downtown commercial structure, many folks would stop and look, wondering what Peggy might be up to now? It's been widely speculated that vintage Halos will soon come into style, but alas, until we're ready for our fittings Peggy will be sorely missed.
A service will be held at 3 pm on Friday, May 7, at the Rogue Valley Community Church, 623 Pine Street in Rogue River.