Peggy Gray and her husband, Jim, moved to Payson 15 years ago in August.
She said the day they arrived to visit friends here, they fell in love with the place and immediately started looking for property.
The couple moved here from New Hampshire, but Gray spent most of her teaching career in the Corning Painted Post School District, Corning, N.Y.
Since coming to the community, Gray has been an active volunteer with the library and was a founding member of the Mogollon Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.
Gray has served on the board of the Library Friends and organized the Rim Country Readers. The Rim Country Readers is a book group that meets monthly. It has no officers, no dues, the members just share an interest in reading.
This month, the group's members discussed what they read over the summer and will be building a reading list for next year from the discussion, Gray said. The October meeting will focus on discussion of the Ayn Rand book, "Atlas Shrugged."
She continues to volunteer at the library. One of her duties is helping in the used book store.
She also delivers books to shut-ins.
"It's very rewarding. They love to see you coming, they like to talk. They are all very nice and like to read," she said.
Between organizing the Rim Country Readers for people with an interest in books and taking books to shut-ins who like to talk and read, it is no surprise when Gray says her favorite hobby and leisure activity is reading. She especially likes American history and English mysteries. Gray's favorite mystery novel is "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tye.
She has even had the opportunity to travel to England. Her first visit there was for her 25th wedding anniversary and she has been back a number of times since and has made many friends there over the years. Her favorite spots in England? Just about all of it, she said, then she started naming them off: Cotswold, Yorkshire, Devon, Cornwall. Her husband died two years ago.
Other favorite activities are swimming and walking, she also enjoys frequently going out to lunch with friends.
Gray was one of the last of the founding members to come aboard the Mogollon Chapter of the DAR in 1992.
"They needed one more warm body and knew I had all the paperwork," Gray said.
She had done her family's genealogy in the 1980s, she said.
Researching her family history, Gray said there were no real surprises.
"We were just a real boring, plain farm family up through my grandfather's time," she said. Her grandfather started his own business and so did her father, Gray said.
The biggest challenge doing her family genealogy, and that of the histories she has helped others complete, is finding out about the wives.
"Learning about them is almost impossible. There are three in my family I will never be able to find out about," she said. Gray explained you can find out when they were born, when they married and when they died, but that is generally about all that is out there. There are rarely details about their lives, she said. She is trying to write a book about her family, for her family, so not being able to find information on the wives is especially frustrating.
Her love of genealogy has her currently trying to get a family trip to the East together. She would like to have her new daughter-in-law see that part of the country, along with her daughter and son. They all reside in the Phoenix area, but getting everyone together is a daunting task.
Gray said the greatest reward of her genealogy work has been the friends she has made doing the research. The friendships are the most rewarding part of being in the DAR, too, she said.
The group also has regular educational programs and that is important as well.
"Part of living is learning. If I don't learn, I might as well give up living," Gray said.
Name: Margaret "Peggy" Gray
Occupation: retired school teacher
Birthplace: Hornell, N.Y.
Family: 2 children
Personal motto: "Well, I can try."
Inspiration: My late husband, Jim
Greatest feat: Learning how to talk in public. I grew up deaf, but I had operations that restored my hearing.
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is ... reading, histories and mysteries.
The three words that describe me best are ... Outgoing, gracious and organized
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: George Washington.
Luxury defined: My own swimming pool.
Dream vacation spot: Southeast Alaska
Why Payson? My husband and I lived in New Hampshire, and for three years all it did was snow and rain. When we retired we started searching for a place to live away from snow and rain. We looked in Florida and South Carolina, then came to visit our son in Phoenix. He flew us up here to see some friends. We had our toothbrushes and started looking for property the day we arrived. We fell in love with Payson that fast.