Obituary : Ifetayo W. Yancey
Ifetayo "Peggy" Wright Yancey, 74, a retired special education teacher from Oak Bluffs and Clearwater, Fla., died Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, at her home in Oak Bluffs after a long battle with colon cancer.
Born in Peabody, Mrs. Yancey was the daughter of the late Dorothy Steward Wright Fields of Salem, and Frederick J. Wright of Medford. Mrs. Yancey was raised by her grandmother, Mrs. Mary Steward, on a small farm in Peabody.
As a child, Mrs. Yancey attended the Samuel Brown School and graduated from Peabody High School in 1951. In high school, she played saxophone in the marching band and played on the basketball team. Her yearbook inscription read: "I may not always be Wright, but I'll never be wrong."
Mrs. Yancey earned an undergraduate degree in early childhood education from Jackson College at Tufts University in 1976 and a master's degree in special education from the University of Georgia at Athens, Ga., in 1978.
An early advocate of school integration in the 1960s, Mrs. Yancey was at the forefront of an effort to open exclusive schools to minority children. She enrolled her own daughters in the elite Elliott Pearson Nursery School at Tufts University and William Cushing Wait Elementary School both in Medford, Belmont Day School in Belmont, and Dana Hall School in Wellesley.
Mrs. Yancey was an early and active member of the West Medford Community Center, which provided after-school enrichment activities for the area's youth, including Troop 128 of the Girls Scouts of America and a nursery school. She was also a long-time member of the historic Shiloh Baptist Church in West Medford.
Over the years, Mrs. Yancey was a member of the American Association of University Women, the Oak Bluffs Senior Center, the Polar Bears swim club of Oak Bluffs, and a volunteer with the Special Olympics. She was also a past treasurer of the All Nations Seventh-Day Adventist Church in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Mrs. Yancey was the widow of Leonard A. Yancey of Oak Bluffs and Clearwater, Fla., who died on Nov. 17, 2004. She is survived by two daughters, Sharifa J. Belle Williams of Oak Bluffs, and Karima A. Haynes of Waldorf, Md.; four grandchildren, Ifetayo Y. Belle of Boston, Erica L. Williams of New York City, Christian D. Haynes and Allana C. Haynes, both of Waldorf, Md.; a brother, Robert W. Steward of Los Angeles; and numerous relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 3:30 pm on Friday, August 21, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Trinity Circle (adjacent to the Tabernacle) in Oak Bluffs. A graveside service will follow at Edgartown Cemetery. In honor of Mrs. Yancey, the family requests that everyone is screened for colon cancer, which is preventable, treatable, and beatable through early detection.