Peggy Bonner Prock died on May 27, 2021. She was born in Sandersville, Mississippi on July 21, 1929. A 1947 graduate of Central High in Jackson, Mississippi, Peggy was featured in the yearbook as Miss D. A. R. Good Citizenship Girl. The blurb for her senior photo was written by future poet and author, the inimitable Turner Cassity. "Striking, graceful Peggy has the flaxen beauty of a modern Valkyrie. Her dependability is almost as legendary as are her grades. Her titles | assistant editor of the Cotton Boll, president of the Junior Classical League | only hint at her capabilities." She attended Millsaps College, majoring in chemistry. She loved her time in the Millsaps Singers, led by the peerless Pop King. A member of Kappa Delta sorority, the Christian Council, and two honor societies, she maintained stellar grades. Peggy was accepted to graduate school at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland, in the burgeoning field of biochemistry. She worked at the McCollum-Pratt Institute at Hopkins from 1951-1954. She met Alfred Prock, a native Baltimorean, and a graduate student in chemistry at Hopkins. They married on July 22, 1953. Alfred did a year's post-doctoral work at Harvard in 1954-1955. While working in the biochemistry lab at Harvard, Peggy had a ringside seat for Arda Green's crystallization of a key enzyme in the citric acid cycle and John Welch's work on invertebrate neurobiology. She liked to mention that there had been an odd fellow in the basement named James Watson, who later worked with Crick to deduce the structure of the DNA double helix. Peggy and Alfred moved to Ithaca, NY in 1956, as Alfred continued post-doctoral work at Cornell. Peggy was hired by the Federal Nutrition Lab, also known as the Fed Nut. She worked for Robert Holley, who went on to win the Nobel Prize for his work on tRNA. She had fond memories of her early research on luciferase, the enzyme that makes fireflies light up. Peggy left biochemistry in 1958 to start a family. They moved to Watertown, MA in 1961, then to Needham, MA in 1965. In the mid-1960s she earned a master's degree in early childhood education at Tufts University, specializing in the development of language. In the mid-1970s, she ran training schools for two pioneering software firms, McCormack & Dodge and BGS Systems. Thousands of attendees fell in love with her Southern charm. She spent hundreds of hours in the 1970s and 1980s studying the works and theories of C. G. Jung. The final chapter of her varied career, law secretary, provided a fascinating education not only in law but in business and human nature. In 1996, Peggy retired. She spent even more time on her extensive gardens, made great friends in water aerobics classes, pored over the Wall Street Journal, and was a faithful email correspondent. Many happy hours were spent on the deck, the best investment ever. When Susan moved back to the area in 2000, they enjoyed concerts, museums and lunches, and other outings together. Peggy was a communicant at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Wellesley from 1976 until the 2020 Covid shutdown. Teaching Sunday School was the purest bliss. She served on the Hospitality Committee (naturally) and was a popular hostess for the parish supper club. She continued to cook scrumptious meals, eat a lot, and not gain weight. With surpassing joy, she greeted the arrival of her grandsons in the late 2000s. Treasured memories included making cookies with them when they were just old enough to assist. Peggy remained at home to the end, as she mightily wished. She is remembered for her sunny outlook and wise counsel, Southern drawl and endless hospitality, and her love of the Lord. She is survived by her daughter Susan, son David, his wife Lisa, their sons, Logan and Luke, and nephews Tucker, Randy, and Steve Bonner, and their families. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lymphatic Education & Research Network, 154 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011. The memorial service is in Jackson, Mississippi on June 17. Her urn, ornamented with the letters alpha and omega, will be interred in the family plot at Lakewood Cemetery. The love remains.
Published by The Needham Times from Jun. 8 to Jun. 10, 2021.