Phyllis L. "Petey" Salman (1936 - 2013)

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Petey Salman passed away Aug. 26, 2013, in Albuquerque, from complications of a stroke suffered earlier this spring in her hometown of Las Vegas.

The daughter of Dr. Walter A. and Ruth K. Stark, she was born Dec. 5, 1936, in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., and spent most of her formative years in Las Vegas. She graduated from Las Vegas High School, and then received her B.A. degree from Highlands University, where she majored in English and education.

After a brief stint teaching in Colorado Springs, she returned to Las Vegas, married her high school sweetheart, David Salman, and raised sons Andrew and Jefferson on their family ranch in La Cueva. After their divorce, Petey and David remained close until his death in 2010.

Petey continued graduate school in psychological counseling and established her own practice in Albuquerque. She also worked for several years promoting the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra throughout the state. After she retired, she moved back to Las Vegas to be closer to her son, Jeff, and his family.

An avid reader and accomplished writer, Petey read widely and wrote short stories and essays. She was a proud patron of small local bookshops and had a knack for uncovering obscure diamonds of writing for her family and friends.

Her literary interest also extended to the spoken word; Petey appeared on stage in several shows in Albuquerque with Theatre in the Making. One of her passions was volunteering to read stories aloud to elementary school children and sharing her joy of reading. Petey's reading had a profound impact on many students in Las Vegas; she was thrilled when a youngster told her they remembered being read to by "Grandma Petey."

She was a keen student of the intricacies of the U.S. political system and had an insatiable appetite for political discussions and a capacity to absorb hours of C-SPAN which amazed and baffled her friends. Petey spent a lot of time working to register young voters and volunteering for the Obama campaign and other political candidates and civic issues.

She always loved animals of almost any stripe or nature, and usually had at home a menagerie of several dogs and cats at any given time in her life.

Across this mix of literature, politics, and pets, Petey had cultivated a special art for helping others see life in wonderful and unexpected ways. This was especially true for her grandchildren, Molly and Mack Salman, and nephew, Christopher Stark, whom she dearly loved.

Petey is survived by her son, Jefferson Salman and his wife, Julianne, and their two children, Molly and Mack, of Las Vegas; a brother, Walter Stark Jr., of Los Alamos, NM; nephew, Chris Stark (Rebecca) and two sons, Dexter and Duncan, of London, U.K.; and cousins, Anne Winston Sanders (Steven), Alice Winston Carney (Jim), Steve Winston, and Ted Winston. Petey leaves a large circle of special friends and acquaintances.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Ruth Stark, and by her son, Andrew Salman.

A memorial gathering will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at the First United Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Animal Welfare Coalition of Las Vegas, or to any charity of your choice.
Published in Las Vegas Optic on Aug. 30, 2013
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