PEGGY STAPLES BIOGRAPHY

     MHS CLASS OF 1951

                                         August-23-33 - June 3-2003

                                                                      By

                                                 Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966

Peggy Janice Staples (August 23, 1933 – June 3, 2009) was the first woman to have served on the Minden City Council, with her tenure extending to three terms from 1978-1990. In 1981, she was named “Minden Woman of the Year”. In 1989, she was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in a special election created by the recall of Noel E. “Gene” Byars (born 1939, Minden High School Class of 1957).

 

Staples  was one of five children born in Minden to George Staples (1903-1942) and the former Jimmie Ivy (1907-1983). George Staples was a son of Archibald Staples and the former Mary Campbell of Castor, later Mary McInnis. When Peggy graduated from Minden High School in 1951, she was voted the “wittiest” senior student by her classmates. Her siblings included Doris S. Lee of Ruston, Sammie G. Staples (November 21, 1928--June 21, 1958), Bobbie S. Pugh (January 1, 1931—July 1, 1998, MHS Class of 1948), and Mike Staples, a Pennsylvanian.  Staples  was particularly attentive over the years to her three nephews and three nieces through the role of doting aunt.

 

After high school, Peggy Staples attended the Northwest Louisiana Vocational Technical School in Minden and took some courses at Centenary College and at Louisiana State University at Shreveport.  In her early years, Staples worked for Robinson’s Grocery in Minden, Jordan and Booth men’s haberdashery in downtown Shreveport, and the former Pioneer Gas in Minden. In her later years, she was a salesperson for Arthur DeLoach Real Estate in Minden. She also was involved in the restoration of furniture. At the age of sixty, Staples returned to school to procure credentials to be a massage therapist. She opened her own practice and maintained this livelihood until her health began to fail.

 

Staples was active in the First United Methodist Church of Minden, where she taught Sunday school to third graders for more than eight years. She was active in the Minden Business and Professional Women’s Club, served as chairman of the Arthritis Foundation, and participated in fund-raising for the March of Dimes, St. Jude’s Hospital, and the Heart Fund.

 

In the 1978 city council election, the first under a single-member district, rather than at-large election, Staples, a Democrat, filed in District D against six male opponents, the strongest of whom, Ben Kinel, she defeated in a second round of balloting. In that same election, Staples’s then boss, Arthur I. DeLoach (born 1929), was himself defeated in his own bid for the District E council seat by the Republican Felix R. Garrett (1922-1987), the last city utilities commissioner under the previous form of government.

 

In 1982, Staples easily defeated Eddy Arnold, formerly of the Minden Press-Herald, 760-269. In 1986, she defeated Terry Gardner, 620-476. In 1990, Staples sought a fourth term with her stated goals being the establishment of the service road along Interstate 20, increasing the manpower of the police force, and the building of a recreation center. That year, most council incumbents and short-term Mayor Paul A. Brown (1932-1996) were all defeated. Staples herself was unseated by the Republican Richard “Rick” Shropshire, 761-461.

 

In 1999, after a grassroots citizens panel succeeded in recalling Mayor Gene Byars for financial irregularities, Staples entered the special election for the year remaining in Byars’s second term. With 452 votes citywide and a fourth-place showing, Staples failed to emerge beyond the first round of balloting. In the special election runoff, Paul Brown, a Republican, unseated interim Mayor Robert T. Tobin (1910-2007), a Democrat and the first African American city council member in Minden, who was also elected the same year that Staples joined the council. Democrat Bill Robertson (born 1938), who ran third in the special election, emerged a year later as the victor in the regular general election against Brown. On September 28, 1990, Brown had been seriously wounded in an accident on the Minden High School football field where he was participating in moving the yardage chains. He was left a semi-invalid for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Robertson will complete twenty years as mayor at the end of the term which expires in December 2010.

 

Staples died at the age of seventy-five of a five-year fight against Parkinson’s disease at Minden Medical Center. She never married. She had resided for much of her life at 206 Pecanview Drive in Minden. Services were held on June 5, 2009, at the First United Methodist Church with the Reverend John Cannon officiating. Pallbearers were great-nephews, Kenny Balkom, Heath Balkom, Clint Ritchie, Luke Ritchie, Lance Streetman, A.J. Swayze, and Wayne West. Interment was adjacent to her parents at Minden Cemetery.

 

Sources: The information is obtained from a review of election year issues of the Minden Press-Herald in 1978, 1982, 1986, 1989, and 1990, as well as the Staples obituary, June 4, 2009.


  Billy  Hathorn

Says Rowland Ivy, Class of 1952...  "Peggy taught me at a very young age was how to whistle.  I don't mean the low whistle with the lips puckered.  I mean the shrill whistle you would use to call dogs or kids, if they were out of yelling range." 

Says Dottie Adcock, Class of 1957..."Thanks for the information on Peggy Staples. She and my husband, John Adcock, enjoyed a mutual interest in restoring old furniture."                        

Says Theresa Bunner..."She died with Parkinson’s disease. She was born Aug. 23, 1933, in Minden, a town she passionately loved and served all her life. Burial will be in Minden City Cemetery next to her parents George and Jimmie O. Ivy Staples in Section F-1.  She had Parkinson's."