Alison Massa Piepmeier

  • "Alison was one of the most courageous people my husband and..."
    - Barbara Borg
  • "Alison will be sorely missed. In her presence, myself and..."
    - Emily Rogers
  • "Alison was a fun and fierce feminist. The force was always..."
    - Martha McCaughey
  • "I say goodbye to a wonderful colleague. You will be sorely..."
  • "My husband and I moved to Charleston and began attending..."

Alison Massa Piepmeier CHARLESTON - College of Charleston professor and writer Alison Massa Piepmeier, of Charleston, SC, 43, died August 12, 2016, six years and many treatments after being diagnosed with brain cancer. Piepmeier was born and grew up in Cookeville, TN, where she attended Tennessee Tech University. She earned a doctoral degree in English from Vanderbilt University, where she taught for several years. Piepmeier came to the College of Charleston in 2005 as the Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program, a position she would hold for the next decade. In that role, she successfully led the effort to create a separate academic major in Women's and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston. An accomplished scholar who had recently focused on disability studies, Piepmeier published two books, one edited volume, and many academic articles. She was a guest lecturer or scholar at several universities and was a former officer of the National Women's Studies Association and a former president of the Southeastern Women's Studies Association. At the time of her death, Piepmeier was conducting research on the high incidence of abortion for fetuses with a risk for Down Syndrome. In Charleston and nationally, Piepmeier was a frequent media commentator on social justice and on disability. Her columns and academic research were featured in leading print and online news outlets, including the New York Times. Piepmeier was best known in Charleston for her column on Southern feminism in the Charleston City Paper. Her final column, in which she acknowledged her imminent death and expressed thanks for her "beautiful life," was widely read online and led to stories at and the website of Us Weekly. The online magazine Charlie recognized Piepmeier in 2014 as one of the 50 most progressive people in Charleston. Piepmeier is survived by her daughter, Maybelle Biffle-Piepmeier; her husband, Brian McGee; her parents, Lee and Kelly Piepmeier of Cookeville, TN; her brother, Trey Piepmeier, and his partner, Olivia Miller, of Greensboro, NC; her brother, Aaron Piepmeier, Aaron's wife, Mary Piepmeier, and their daughter, Margot, of Greensboro, NC. A Memorial Service will be held at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, 4 Archdale Street, Charleston, SC 29401, on Friday, August 19, at 3:00 p.m. A reception will follow in the Church's Gage Hall. In lieu of flowers, Piepmeier requested that gifts be made in her memory to the Women's and Gender Studies Program, 66 George Street, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina 29424, or at These gifts will help establish a scholarship in Piepmeier's name. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at Piepmeier's blog contains many rich accounts of her cancer treatment. Arrangements have been entrusted to McALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL HOME, 1520 RIFLE RANGE ROAD, MT PLEASANT, SC 29464, (843) 884-3833. Visit our guestbook at charleston

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McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation - Mt. Pleasant Location
1520 Rifle Range Rd
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 884-3833
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Published in Charleston Post & Courier on Aug. 14, 2016
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