LYNDHURST - Mary Margaret "Peggy" Jones, 73, a fierce humanitarian as committed to loving her family as she was to championing special education, died Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Cleveland with her children by her side.
Born May 27, 1940, in Niles, Peggy was raised with nine siblings by beloved parents Benjamin and Nora Welsh Jones.
She graduated from Niles McKinley High, later receiving a bachelor's and master's degree in education from Youngstown State University, all the while lovingly raising her three children.
Peggy balanced her work and family life with tremendous modesty. Watching her dote on her granddaughter while she made her famous red sauce, one would never suspect this was a woman driven to make lasting change on the educational system.
Peggy was the consummate educator and turned her talents to her granddaughter, teaching Mia about bird-watching, the evolution of butterflies, gardening and baking.
Peggy was a force of quick wit and impassioned spirit; her enthusiasm for politics, food and family kept people on their toes, around the table and most importantly in her heart.
Peggy with her mentor and fellow educator, Dr. Bernadette Angle, developed the Special Education Inclusion program. Their mission was to improve social inclusion and academic success for children marginalized by special needs. In 1998, their innovative program was recognized at the International Council for Exceptional Children in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
Peggy taught special education at Seaborn Elementary, where she applied her Inclusion program with great success until retiring in 2009. Peggy continued to teach through the Kumon after-school program in Cleveland until 2012.
Peggy is survived by her daughters, Cindy and Susan Vadino; granddaughter Mia Kimmelman of Cleveland; son Michael (fiancee Rachael Milkey) Vadino of New York City; siblings Maureen, Deborah, Donald and Michael Jones of Niles, Douglas (Charmaine) Jones of Girard and Elaine (Andy) Starinchak of Westerville; as well as much loved nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.
Her siblings, Norma (Joseph) Depizzo of Liberty, Kathleen (William) Davis of Austintown and Benjamin Jones of Niles, are deceased.
Peggy will be sadly missed by family and friends.
A celebration of Peggy's life was held Friday at the Lyndhurst Community Center.