Peggy Dye

Peggy Ann Dye of New York City and formerly Evanston, died Dec. 4, 2007, at Calvary Hospital in New York City. She was 64.

She was born Jan. 4, 1943, in Texas, to Alice and William Dye. Her parents divorced after the war, and she was raised in Evanston by her mother, who was killed in a car accident in the fall of 1961 during Ms. Dye's first semester in college.

She attended the former Central Elementary School in Evanston through sixth grade, then Nichols Middle School (then known as Nichols Junior High School) for seventh and eighth grades. In 1961, she graduated at the top of her class from Evanston Township High School. A student leader at all the three schools, she became the first African-American editor-in-chief of the yearbook, The Key, at ETHS.

Mel Williams of Evanston, a close childhood friend of Ms. Dye, has been overwhelmed at the sadness over her death expressed by ETHS graduates across the country.

"Her death came as a great shock to everyone. Peggy was a tremendous person, liked and admired by everyone who came in contact with her," Williams said in a statement.

Janet Cole Davis of Evanston, also a close childhood and high-school friend of Ms. Dye, said, in a statement, "Peggy was destined to make her mark on the world, and she did. It was obvious she would go far. She always had ideas about what should be done about something. She was brilliant, yet accepted each person for that person's value. She had exceptional communication skills that made anyone in her presence feel comfortable. She always had a keen sense of right and wrong, and held to her high standards all her life."

Ms. Dye received a full scholarship to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., from which she graduated in 1965 with a bachelor of arts degree in European history, with an emphasis on the French revolutions. She had wanted to concentrate on modern African revolutions, but was told by her college advisor that there was "insufficient history" for such a study. She was later to ride to the war front-lines in Africa, writing eyewitness reports on the war for democracy in Western Sahara against Morocco for Newsday and the civil war in El Salvador for Newsday and 1199 News.

Ms. Dye worked in the office of then-U.S. Sen. Paul Douglas in Washington, D.C., and after graduating from Vassar, worked in publishing in the trade division of McGaw-Hill Inc. in New York City before marrying George Moberg, a Swedish citizen. The couple moved to Puerto Rico, where she was a librarian and researcher at the Las Nereidas Montessori School in San Juan, and a researcher and reporter for the Dorvillier Business News Agency.

The couple later divorced; her ex-husband preceded her in death.

From 1969 until the early 1980s, Ms. Dye worked in several capacities as a city planner for the New York City, becoming the chief of commercial leisure and tourism.

Ms. Dye's godfather, Alvin Cavinette of Evanston, said, in a statement, "She is all over the Internet with her work as a city planner for New York City. She did a lot for that city." Mr. Cavinette taught math at Evanston Township High School for 21 years.

A free-lance writer all her life, Ms. Dye wrote for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Newsday and The Village Voice. She also was an associate editor, writer and investigative reporter for the monthly magazine of the National Union of Health Care and Hospital Employees.

Throughout her life, Ms. Dye received numerous awards and recognition for her writing and community activism. She lectured widely and was a member of numerous associations throughout her life, including the National Writers Union, National Alliance of Third World Journalists, Harlem Renaissance Writers, and Vassar Black Alumnae Association.

Until shortly before her death, Ms. Dye was the director of the Friends of the Brooklyn, New York, Public Library. She remained a full-time consultant at the library until she became ill.

Ms. Dye described herself as a "freelance independent writer/organizer/public affairs consultant." More about her life and work is featured on the Web site established after her death by her writing partner, Mark Bloch of New York City, with the assistance of some of Peggy's numerous friends and colleagues:

At the time of her death, Ms. Dye had finished her novel, Country Negro Spy, a semi-autobiographical work. The book, or part of it, is expected to be published.

"She called me every Sunday night to check on me, and e-mailed me regularly," Cavinette said, in a statement. "She honored all Evanston blacks when she went to Vassar College and with her continuous accomplishments. She was a very good person. I was so proud of her."

Ms. Dye was preceded in death by her parents and is survived by her godfather, Alvin Cavinette, as well as devoted friends, colleagues and admirers from all periods of her life.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 8 at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217. Arrangements for a local memorial are pending.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Peggy Dye Excellence in Writing Yearbook Award, in care of Mary Rodino, Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston IL 60201.