To the grief of those who knew her, former Las Positas College English instructor Peggy Riley died Aug. 22 after a fouryear battle with cancer. She was 77 years old.
Riley retired in 2005 after teaching for more than 20 years. She joined the LPC faculty in 1985 before the College had achieved independent status, and cochaired with fellow English instructor Lindell Bruce in writing LPC’s first accreditation report. She was also central to the growth of the English Department, helping pen many of the course materials and assignments.
“Peggy helped all of us to see the English program as a work in progress,” Bruce said. “And somehow she got each of us to do what we could do to make it better. She had a knack for recognizing talent and nurturing it.”
“Providing a quality learning experience to her students was always her primary commitment as a teacher,” Don Milanese said in a statement. “She was an inspiring teacher, and beyond the classroom, Peggy possessed a respected and forceful voice on behalf of her department and contributed in so many extracurricular ways outside of the classroom to the College’s growth and development in collaboration with her colleagues.”
After her retirement Riley became involved in the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and in 2006 served on the founding board of Shakespeare’s Associates. Lisa Tromovitch, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at University of the Pacific and Producing Artistic Director for Shakespeare’s Associates, remembered Riley as “very much loved by the artists she collaborated with.”
Riley is survived by her husband, Neil, and daughter Karen. It is requested that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to pay respects make a donation to the Livermore Shakespeare Festival or to a charity of their choice.
“Peggy was a really special member of our department and college,” English instructor Karin Spirn said. “Her positivity, generosity and collegiality helped foster LPC’s supportive and caring environment. She will truly be missed.”