Miriam Schellhase Peifer, 86

Published 5:51 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

Miriam Schellhase Peifer, 86, died Friday, July 26, in Atlanta, Ga.

Miriam was born to the late John and Ethel Schellhase. After growing up in Chambersburg and Waynesboro, Pa., Miriam graduated from Ursinus College, where she also met her future husband, James Peifer. Mim and Jim lived in Philadelphia and then in New Brunswick, NJ where Jim completed his Ph.D. at Rutgers University.

They lived for 13 years in Austin, Minn., while Jim worked at the University of Minnesota Hormel Institute. In addition to running a household and raising three young children, Mim always found time to serve her church and community. She also worked as a freelance writer, part-time school teacher and newspaper reporter. Jim accepted an academic appointment at the University of Georgia, and the family moved to Athens, Ga., where they lived for more than 35 years. Mim earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia School of Education, with an emphasis in gerontology. She worked for the National Interfaith Coalition on Aging. She also directed the Oconee Senior Center in Watkinsville, Ga., and while there, was the motivator and editor for the publication of Recipes and Reminiscence (1980).

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Miriam was always engaged with family, neighbors, and church and professional groups. She was an active member of St. James United Methodist church in Athens. She was a Girl Scout leader, a member of the Athens Choral Society, and a garden club member, and she served as president of the Athens League of Women Voters.

Jim and Mim were married for 55 years when Jim died in 2004. Miriam is also predeceased by her parents, stepmother and brother Howard. She is survived by her three children, Rick Peifer and wife Anne Runyon of Raleigh, N.C., John Peifer and wife Deborah Lee of Atlanta, and Audrey Gargiullo and husband Paul Gargiullo, also of Atlanta; as well as her five grandchildren, Nathan Peifer, Lee Peifer, Kristen Peifer Dobbs, Christina Gargiullo and Karen Gargiullo. A memorial service will be held at Embry Hills United Methodist church in Atlanta at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 9. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer’s Association or Meals on Wheels Atlanta.