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Peggy Spiess

The daughter of the director of the Scripps Institution in San Diego, Peggy Spiess grew up in a neighborhood of oceanographers. After high school, she worked on farms in England and Iowa, then enrolled in animal science at Oregon State. "I also took a course in animal rights and human obligations. It changed everything," says Spiess, who left OSU, came to the UO, majored in fine art, and played field hockey. After graduation in 1980, she started working at the New Frontier Market, where she met her husband, Tom DeLigio, in the walk-in cooler. They raised two kids and had 20-year careers in health-food stores, including Solstice, Oasis, Sundance, and Red Barn. "We could write a novel about health-food stores in Eugene," she says. When DeLigio got a job in the school district 10 years ago, he worked with a kid who was visually impaired. Unemployed at the time, Spiess learned braille to help with his lessons. She is now one of three part-time braillists in the district, and one of 30 music braillists in the US. She also plays marimba with the band Kudana and paints in her backyard art studio (behind her in the photo). She has taken a hiatus from the annual Mayor's Art Show after five straight successful entries.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 4 February 2010

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