Nature 28
Official Obituary of

Sandra J (Strebel) Peavey

February 7, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Sandra Peavey Obituary

Sandra Jeanne (Strebel) Peavey of Hingham, MA, died peacefully at South Shore Hospital on February 7, 2024, surrounded by her family, after suffering a cardioembolic stroke a few days earlier. She would have turned 86 on February 27th.

She will be greatly missed by her husband of almost 60 years, Bernie Peavey, her daughter, Maggy Pietropaolo, grandchildren Zackery and Sofia, their father, Vincent Pietropaolo, her brother, Stephen Strebel and his wife, Mary, her nieces and nephews, Bill Strebel, Stephanie and Carl Jasmin, Sarah and Roger Cameron, Joe and Heather Strebel, her 12 grand-nieces and nephews, and the many cousins who loved her.

Sandy was born in Buffalo, New York to Dr. Gustave Strebel and Adelaide Corridon Strebel, but soon moved to Rochester where she spent most of her youth. Two years were spent in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, while her father, an optometrist, cared for the eyesight of the men working on the Manhattan project. As a child, she enjoyed dressing up her cats and pushing them around in a baby carriage. So, she was delighted when at six years old, her parents gave her a baby brother. Unfortunately, Steve lost some of his appeal when he grew into a typical annoying younger sibling, but as adults, they became very close.

Sandra received her B.A. in English at Cornell University in 1959 and in 1962, went on to become one of only six women to graduate from Duke University School of Law in the entire decade and was the only woman in her graduating class and on law review. Upon graduation, Sandy moved to Washington, DC to work for the US government as a trial attorney for the Federal Power Commission. After 11 years, she left to become a founding partner of Spiegel & McDiarmid, which is still a top ranked law firm specializing in the energy and telecom industries. There, her practice focused on utility regulation and anti-trust law, representing smaller municipal power companies against the unfair practices of large private firms. In 1974, she was admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court, where she tried several cases during her career. In the mid-1990s, Sandy transitioned from senior partner to of counsel at her firm, taught legal writing both in person and online at the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore, and eventually left Spiegel & McDiarmid to become of counsel at McAndrew & Zitver, where she practiced appellate employment law part-time until her retirement in 2020.

In January 1964, Sandy visited a friend’s church and was introduced to Bernie at dinner after the service. They hit it off immediately, became engaged in March, and married on June 27th the same year. In 1967, they bought a home in Laurel, Maryland, and welcomed their daughter the following year. In addition to representing clients all over the country, and raising her daughter, Sandy enjoyed ballroom dancing and playing bridge with her husband. Summer weekends were spent at their apartment in Bethany Beach, Delaware, where Sandy eventually became president of the Sea Colony condo association. When Maggy left to follow in her mother’s footsteps at Cornell, Sandy picked up a new hobby – owning racehorses. She especially loved visiting them in the stables and watching them train in the early mornings.

In 2002, Sandy began her favorite job – grandmother – and could finally stop showing her friends pictures of her “grand-dog.” She and Bernie moved to Hingham in 2006 to be closer to their grandchildren, and for nine years, Zack and Sofia had the amazing experience of being taken care of by Grammy and Grampa every Monday after school.

Soon after moving to Linden Ponds, Sandy saw an announcement that Hingham was looking for people to negotiate the town’s contracts with Comcast and Verizon and thought that sounded fun, so she joined the Hingham Cable TV Advisory Committee, which she chaired from 2009-2016 and vice-chaired until 2018. While on this committee, she started the “Spanning the Generations” program at the high school with a grant from Verizon, where high school students train senior citizens to use video equipment for cable TV programming. Sandy also pursued her hobbies of photography and videography at Linden Ponds, where she volunteered as a crew member at their cable TV studio. Sandy enjoyed being part of both the Linden Ponds community and the entire Hingham community. She was an active member of Second Parish, serving on the leadership board, filming Sunday services for cable TV, and donating both food and time to the Hingham Food Pantry. She also envisioned and built the Serenity Path through the woods behind the church.

In her seventies, Sandy developed an intolerance for gluten, so naturally she and her friend established the Linden Ponds Gluten Free Club where members shared recipes and a monthly dinner together. Before covid, Sandy and Bernie enjoyed many activities with their friends at Linden Ponds, including folk and ballroom dancing, attending performing arts events, and traveling on small ship cruises. Sandy started two other groups there: the UU Fellowship of Linden Ponds, of which she was president until 2022, and the Unitarian Universalist University or “U cubed,” which is a weekly gathering of residents to watch lectures from Great Courses on topics of history, religion, and culture.

When she wasn’t working, volunteering, or caring for her husband and grandchildren, Sandy enjoyed reading detective fiction, doing sudoku and logic puzzles, shopping and traveling. In their retirement, Sandy and Bernie traveled to both Alaska and Hawaii, cruised the Mississippi, the Great Lakes and Belize, and in 2016 they took their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren on a week-long vacation to the Canadian Rockies.

Sandy will always be remembered for her brilliant mind, determination, kindness, generosity, and prolific use of emojis in texts. Her wish was to have a memorial service in Hingham during the summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to the Hingham Food Pantry (685 Main Street).

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 22nd at 1:00pm at Linden Ponds in Hingham. 

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