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Students recount stories about 100-year-old Dorothy Peak

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:17 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:38 p.m. CDT

Betty Wallace — a 1957 graduate of CHS — makes daily visits to Dorothy’s house on North Sycamore Street in Creston. Both are CHS Hall of Fame members and both have a love for reading.

“She goes through at least two books per week,” Wallace said. “I just delivered four more to her today (Monday). She likes the large-print books and now that I’m getting older, I’m kind of looking that direction, too.”

Wallace calls Peak the most patient teacher she had at any level of her schooling. Wallace also mentioned her class meets every five years and Peak has yet to miss one of their reunions.

“I just don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a positive experience with her,” Wallace said. “Her stories, to this day, are just a scream. She also takes immense pride in knowing dates and gets aggravated when she can’t recall someone’s name.”

Jeff Mostek was a student in Dorothy Peak’s “Bachelor Living” class. He said about 14 years ago — during the 100th anniversary party for Creston Elks Lodge #605 — he came clean to Mrs. Peak about an instance when he cheated in her class.

“I had waited a long time to tell her this story,” said Mostek, a 1977 graduate of CHS. “We had an assignment to sew a button on a swatch of clothing. She had stood in front of the class and showed an example, but she accidentally left it on my desk when she was done. I did complete the sewing assignment, but when done, I decided her (sample) swatch looked better than mine so I turned hers in. She gave me an A minus.”

Mostek said Peak “laughed and laughed” when he told her that story, and told him: “I forgive you my son.”

Mary Sid McDonald — a 1953 graduate of CHS — recalls Peak being well-liked by her students, so much so that they invited her and business teacher Clyde Bailey (now deceased) to ride with them in the Creston Fourth of July Parade for their 50th class reunion.

Both teachers accepted. They traveled in front of the classes’ float in a red and black Chevrolet from the 1930s era. On the side of the car — provided by Bill Stuart of Hi-Crest Auto — a sign from the class read” “we cherish our mentors.”

McDonald calls Peak a wonderful storyteller and mentor and was always willing to give advice and suggestions.

Dora Coen — a 1943 graduate of CHS — visits Peak every two or three months, and Peak always reminds Coen of the time in 1924 that she pushed Coen’s husband (John) around Creston in a baby buggy.

“She couldn’t have been more than 10 years old then,” said the 89-year-old Coen. “But there is never a time she doesn’t tell me that story. That must have really pleased her.”

Lisa (Crago) Chapin — a 1980 graduate of CHS — wrote this note inside a birthday card to Peak:

“Dorothy, I had you as a teacher. I don’t even remember what year! ... I’m sure you don’t remember me, as you had so many students over the years. But, I’ve never forgotten you and what a wonderful teacher and person you are. Happy, happy birthday! Thanks for being an influential part of my life.”

As of this morning, Peak has already received 54 birthday cards. Several more are expected when the mail comes at noon today.

Patricia (Miller) Hoffman was Dorothy Peak’s student. She wrote this note inside a birthday card to Peak:

“Mrs. Peak, How well I remember my home ec classes with you. You also taught two of my daughters. My, wasn’t life simple in those days. One of my daughters teaches first grade in Indianola. I am currently finishing an anniversary quilt for her. I hope you know how fondly you are remembered.”

Rose (Miller) Henry — a 1973 graduate of CHS — recalls an assignment in Peak’s home economics class whereby she was to make a full meal for her family.

“Then we were to invite Mrs. Peak to come to the meal,” Henry said. “I made Thanksgiving dinner and she said no other student had ever done that. She still has a very sharp memory. Even the last time I saw her — which was about three years ago — she still remembered me making that Thanksgiving meal and remembered my name.”

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