PHOTO CAPTION: Maggi Peyton (left) in 1976 with Mim Kelber, Bella Abzug and Harold Holzer. Photograph by Diana Mara Henry.
REMEMBERING MAGGI PEYTON, CFD’S FIRST PRESIDENT
Maggi Peyton, a founder of Community Free Democrats and the Park West Village Tenants Association (along with Jerry Nadler), and a feminist who had the political eye of a mother hawk and the stamina and heart of a dancer, passed away Tuesday night. Our club honored her at our annual gala in April. Our hearts go out to her sons Randy and Sean and to all of those who knew her. It was an honor and a joy to know her.
Her wake will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 28, at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, NW corner of 81st and Madison. Please spread the word.
It’s almost frightening that we will have to carry on without her. Maggi preferred to remain humbly behind the scenes, but those in the know knew you had to get to Maggi, to talk it over with her, to find out who to connect with to reach your political or governmental goals, or just to vent and bellyache. An activist and leader who also knew the value of patience, she was the quintessentially calm repository of relationships among grassroots community people and powerbrokers alike, here on the Upper West Side and throughout Manhattan. A ballet dancer by training with a remarkable understanding of people, she became a trusted aide to Congresswoman Bella Abzug and later worked for four Borough Presidents – Andrew Stein, C. Virginia Fields, Scott Stringer and Gale Brewer. She also was a founder of Women’s Political Caucus and the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (with Bella’s daughter Liz). Maggi handled valuable bits of inside information like an air traffic controller, guaranteeing that each piece would be directed to the proper runway and arrive safely at its useful destination. She shared what she knew if you could be trusted with it, and you could always trust her. So very many secrets have been snuffed out with Maggi’s passing.
Scott Stringer has said time and again, “Maggi didn’t work for me. I worked for Maggi.” We know that Maggi worked for all of us, and it worked.