Art teacher Peggy Feuer passes away
Popular art teacher Peggy Feuer, who worked in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District for 23 years, died on Wednesday after a short battle with an aggressive brain tumor. She was 66 years old.
A memorial service to celebrate the lifelong artist and teacher is set for Saturday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. at Vintage House senior center, 246 First. St. E. The family is planning the burial for Monday, Feb. 13, at Valley Cemetery in Sonoma.
“She was smart and funny, really funny. She had this dry sense of humor,” said her daughter Rebecca Slazinski. “She took the chance to laugh at everything. We had a lot of laughs in the hospital.”
Louann Carlomagno, superintendent of the school district, said Feuer taught both art and English as a second language at various schools within the district. Throughout her career, she taught at Altimira Middle School, Adele Harrison Middle School, Sassarini Elementary School and El Verano Elementary School, before transferring to Sonoma Valley High School in 2008, where she spent the last years of her career.
Students remember her passion for teaching and art. “She was really engaging,” said James Fanucchi, 18, who was a student of Feuer’s in middle school. “She definitely knew a lot about art.”
Sonoma Valley High School student Jamie Ballard, who also had Feuer in middle school, added, “I remember her being very gregarious. You got the sense that she was genuinely interested, she really seemed to love teaching.”
That’s no surprise to Slazinski, who said her mother always saw the good in people and did her best to reach out to those around her. “That was one of her characteristics, she wanted to connect with people,” she said. “She understood we’re all inherently flawed, but she chose to believe the good in everyone.”
Feuer was born in New York, where her parents moved after surviving the Holocaust. Both her parents were dedicated to aiding Holocaust victims, which shaped the way Feuer lived her life. “They lost their families in the Holocaust, on both sides,” Slazinski said. “My mother saw how hard my grandmother worked, her whole life. My mother just took that example and built on it.”
Feuer grew up in Michigan, where she loved art in every medium, from ceramics to textiles to paintings. In addition to teaching, she worked as an interior designer and an educational filmmaker.
“There was nothing she did that wasn’t creative,” Slazinski said. “The way she would set the table or make a salad, it was always with beauty.”
When she moved to Sonoma nearly 40 years ago, she worked for the Index-Tribune briefly before she began her work with the school district. Deeply dedicated to her Jewish roots, she was actively involved with establishing Congregation Shir Shalom and edited its newsletter up until her illness. She was active in numerous nonprofits throughout her life.
“She just was involved in so many organizations I can’t even list them,” Slazinski said.
Slazinski said her mother took a leave of absence from work in November to have hip surgery. “She asked her students to visualize her dancing, because she loved dancing and was a wonderful dancer,” Slazinski said.
While recovering from the surgery in December, Feuer fell and bumped her head. Follow up tests revealed she had glioblastoma multiforme, a rapidly growing type of tumor that, according to research from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, only one out of every four patients survive in the two years after diagnosis. But Slazinski said the grim prognosis didn’t phase her mother, who continued to live life brimming over with positivity.
“She really just channeled this goodness,” Slazinski said.
She is survived by her two daughters, Rebecca Slazinski and Julia Slazinski.