WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Memorial Library held a private ceremony in late September to dedicate its new reading garden to the late Peggy Kane, the library’s biggest advocate over the past two decades.
Kane, who passed away last year, was a member of the Friends of Wilmington Memorial the Library organization for more than 20 years, and served as its President from 2009 to 2018. She also served as a Library Trustee from 2001 to 2004 and was a frequent volunteer at library events and at the Friends of the Library’s Book Store Next Door.
Stacey Benoit, one of Kane’s daughter, recently spoke with Wilmington Community Television about the memorial reading garden and what it means to her family.
“My children will go and just sit. It’s a beautiful place. We feel very close to her there. It has so much meaning. I feel as though she’s always with us for sure, but my kids will walk on their own, or my son will drive, just to be there,” Benoit told “Talk of the Town” host Eileen MacDougall.
Benoit discussed why the reading garden is such a fitting tribute to her mother.
“She was an English teacher for over 32 years at Medford High. Reading was her life. She loved being part of the library. It became part of her family and made a big difference,” continued Benoit. “She lost my father 20 years ago to cancer… That’s when she ramped up her volunteerism at the library, the School Committee and her church. She really created a second life for herself. She had a good support system of friends… She didn’t give up on life because dad wasn’t here. She made a whole other Peggy Kane. She loved being busy. When she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, that was obviously a blow to her, because she was so active. But she would sleep all day if she had to to get to her meetings at night.”
Benoit also explained just how much Kane enjoyed being a part of the library community.
“Honestly, [the garden’s dedication] is overwhelming. It’s such a beautiful gesture for the memory of my mother. She just loved being part of the library,” said Benoit. “Even though she was sick with Parkinson’s and then had a brain tumor, and had to step back from a lot of the things she loved to do in her volunteer life, the library was one of the things she had a difficult time getting up… It was still something she wanted to do.”
MacDougall, who came up with the idea to name the garden after Kane, encouraged residents to visit and reflect upon all the contributions Kane has made to Wilmington, including her role on the Wilmington School Committee, on which she served for 18 years, including nine as chairwoman.
Watch the interview, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below:
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