Rebecca Sowers Peapples ’58

sowersRebecca Dean Sowers Peapples, age 72, died Thursday, April 18, 2013 at Arbor Hospice from Pancreatic Cancer.

Becky was a wonderfully creative, gentle, and intellectual woman with many varied interests including a great love of literature which she inherited from her mother, and a passion for cooking instilled by her father.

Becky was born in Benton Harbor, a town on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, in 1940 to Lucinda Murray Clark and Bouton Franklin Sowers. She attended the Northampton School for Girls in Northampton, MA for high school. Her post-secondary education was at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages. She then earned a Master of Arts in Italian from the U of M.

Becky met her future husband, George Peapples, in her hometown of Benton Harbor during her teenage years. They married in 1962. Their two daughters, Lucy and Sarah, were born in Detroit, where George began his career with the auto industry.

In Ohio, in the 1970’s, Becky discovered old-timey music through a local public radio station and learned to play the banjo. When George’s work took the family to Michigan, Becky again sought out old time music and made lifelong friends through that community. She became a member of the Argo Pond String Band, playing the banjo and performing with the band Sunday afternoons for a time, at a local tavern in Ann Arbor.

From a simple pair of beaded earrings a friend taught her to make, Becky became a professional bead artist, designing beaded jewelry and objects. Her work, published in magazines and books, won prizes at national competitions, and was displayed as part of a travelling exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Becky taught jewelry design at Ann Arbor bead stores, and not uncommonly would receive emails asking for help with one of her intricate designs someone was working out of a magazine in which she was published. While living in Ontario, Canada with her husband, who was on assignment, Becky sought out dog sledding adventures for the two of them. They ventured into the Canadian woods with guides, participating in day and overnight trips. Later in life, Becky and George acquired a dog, Ruby, of whom she was passionate. Becky enjoyed and worked hard training Ruby, and participated in tracking and agility events with her.

Becky’s and George’s second home was in Lakeside, MI, not far from their hometown of Benton Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Becky enjoyed reading on the beach, spending time with family and friends, and walking the lanes of Turner Shores.

Rebecca is survived by her daughters, Lucy Hill and Sarah Peapples; son-in-law, Dan Hill; grandchildren, Kate Hill, Jake Hill, Zare Derounian, and Hannah Derounian; sisters, Deborah Sanford and Alice Wilder and their families; and sister-in-law, Dorothy Peapples and her family. Becky’s devoted husband, George, preceded her in death in 2012.

One thought on “Rebecca Sowers Peapples ’58”

  1. I am so sad to hear of Becky’s death. We were good friends at Northampton and kept in touch for many years after. She was a lovely and introspective person; “gentle” is a good way to describe her. As I read the obit through a second time I had a nice memory of what I recall as her rather throaty laugh. I spent a school vacation with her and her parents in Benton Harbor, which I still remember fondly. My deepest, deepest sympathies to her daughters and the rest of her family, as well as on the death of George. The world is feeling a little emptier this afternoon.

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