Sunday, May 03, 2009

Passing of Peggy Justice

Peggy Justice, retired personnel officer for Carlsbad Caverns & Guadalupe Mountains National Parks from 1960 to 1995, died on April 19, 2009 following a long battle with cancer.

Peggy Lee Justice, 80, passed away Sunday, April 19. Peggy started work for Carlsbad Caverns National Park as a cashier in 1960. Over the next 35 years, Peggy held various administrative positions, and retired in 1995 as the Personnel Officer Pj--cemetery cardfor Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. Following retirement, Peggy continued to help the parks as a volunteer. She worked closely with park historian, Bob Hoff (now retired). Peggy compiled items of historic importance from decades of superintendents' reports and transcribed oral histories. As part of the park’s 75th anniversary in 1998, Peggy organized an employee reunion and tried to contact everyone who had worked at Carlsbad Caverns. From this reunion, she created a “memory book” containing photographs and employees’ personal stories and memories. Peggy’s daughter, Kathy Elmore, is currently the administrative support assistant for Carlsbad Caverns’ superintendent and resource management offices. She says of her mother, “Peggy was very proud of her National Park Service career, and she loved people. She touched hundreds of lives as they passed through her office and became members of her NPS family.”

Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, Jack; her daughter, Lynne; her parents and her brother. She is survived by her daughter, Kathy Elmore; her son Rick and daughter-in-law Sheila; granddaughter Shelley; her dear friend, Jane Turner; and her precious dog, Mandy.

There will be a graveside service at the Carlsbad Cemetery at 2:00 on Wednesday, April 22. A reception will be held at the National Park Service Administration Office at 3225 National Parks Highway at 3:00. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to the American Cancer Society or the Cat’s Meow in Carlsbad. Cards and letters may be sent to 808 Solana Rd., Carlsbad, NM 88220.

(From Inside NPS, written by CAVE Management Assistant Paula Bauer, April 21, 2009)

"Thanks to everyone for their prayers, cards, food and words of sympathy onthe loss of my Mother. She was a special person who cared deeply aboutother people and, over her long career, she welcomed many hundreds into herNPS family. Special thanks to Carole Bryant and the Admin Office girls forthe beautiful reception Wednesday afternoon. The banana punch and Tahoecookies were particular favorites of Mother’s. My family and the Landsunhospice nurses were blessed and honored to care for her, and she will betruly missed by all who knew her.” Kathy Elmore

(4/23/09 Cavern News)

Peggy Justice

The following information I included in my remarks at Peggy's graveside services; it is from a post written almost three years ago (05/18/09) in which I dedicated the starting of this blog to CAVE retirees Peggy Justice and Bob Crisman:


This blog would not even exist except for the efforts of two people: caverns retirees Peggy Justice and Bobby Crisman.

Peggy Justice retired from CAVE as a Personnel Management Specialist in 1995. In her NPS career, she served 34+ years. When I was a supervisor (1986 - 1992), before being the cavern's historian, she often helped me to make sure that I was complying with federal personnel laws as they applied to decisions that I made about the employees. Under her guidance, other caverns supervisors and I never had to go to jail even once. :)

During the 1998 CAVE Employee Reunion, Peggy put together a biographical collection of entries written by the former employees . The employee reunion book itself is a great source of historical materials, with interesting stories of our employee predecessors, as they remembered themselves and each other and the work that they undertook with each other.

Peggy was an outstanding National Park Service "Volunteer-in-the-Park for the caverns Cultural Resources program. Besides the huge amount of work that the 1998 CAVE reunion "book" entailed, he took on the prodigious task of researching and compiling a list of chronological events from caverns' primary historical sources dating back to the 1920s. In addition, she typed a number of caverns primary historical sources so that we could share parts of them with interested park employees and researchers. Finally, she worked on compiling and organizing cavern library records for us.

Peggy is a very, very nice, and easy going person and an extremely well-organized and hard worker. She calls me Robert. I won't tell you what she calls me when I mess up. Her daughter Kathy Elmore is Superintendent John Benjamin's right (or left) hand.


I also added in my remarks at her graveside ceremony that I should have put Peggy in for a much-deserved VIP award for her wonderful assistance to the CAVE history program before I retired, but I nelected to do so because of my own failings, a mishandling of priorities. Her lagacy to our history program, as well as her Administration/Personnel career, was/and is huge.

As those of you who knew Peggy already understand, she was a very special, one-of-a-kind-person, and we all will greatly miss her. CAVE's positive reputation in NPS History and the NPS today is because of the QUALITY of CAVE employees and people like Peggy Justice.

(Bob Hoff, 5/4/09)

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