Rangely’s Dynamo: Peggy Rector

Peggy (right) pictured with her late husband Carl and her late aunt Maxine “Sassy” Enterline attending one of the many community events she has helped organize over the years.
RANGELY­ I A sign in Peggy Rector’s living room reads, “Those who touch our lives stay in our hearts forever.” This quote hangs on a wall in the house she was married in, built on a foundation that has stood the test of time. It seems there is symbolism in every room, a true feeling of a home, with warmth and family pictures.
Behind a closed office door, awards serve as wallpaper — community and state awards for a life devoted to making a difference, and yet dedicated to family. Peggy Rector has touched many lives and continues to find her way into new hearts every day.
Born and raised in Muskogee, Okla., to parents Opal and Robert Lyle, Peg came to Rangely in 1962 to visit her sister, Shirley McMullin. She had no intentions of staying in Rangely at the time but fate had led her to a town that suited her. Ambitious and eager to work, she went back to Muskogee to gather her belongings and move to Rangely.
She met her husband, Carl Rector, in 1963 and the two were married on Jan. 4, 1964. Their son, Jeff, was born in 1964 and Carl and Peggy adopted their daughter, LeaAnn, shortly afterward.
Carl was working for Colorado Well Service initially, and then the two moved to Alaska for six months while Carl worked on a platform in Kenai. When the boom slowed in Alaska, they returned to Rangely where Carl worked for Hydrotest, eventually buying the company. Julius Poole offered the Rectors two rigs to run and their business began.
Peggy worked for Al Earhart and the Bank of Rangely before working as a bookkeeper for her husband. The Rectors started their Duco business in 1976. That business is now owned and operated by their son, Jeff.
Peggy found her passion for politics in high school when she was hired by Senator Shoemaker in Oklahoma. Little did she know the extent her political involvement would take in her life. She became involved in with the Rangely planning commission while she and Carl were living and working in the Hydrotest building. The back room had not been properly ventilated and Peg and her two children were almost asphyxiated, to the point of being hospitalized, as a result. She decided to join the planning commission and served on it for two years before becoming a member of the town council.
Peggy was very involved in the community and had a progressive mindset, wanting to contribute to the growth and stabilization of Rangely and Rio Blanco County. She was elected as a Rio Blanco County commissioner in 1986 and was serving as the board chairperson when she was involved in a terrible car accident that nearly took her life in 1989.
Forced to step out of public office to complete two years of strenuous rehabilitation, Peggy actually had to teach herself to read and write again. She fought through her injuries as only she could and became more involved in the community than ever when she recovered. She began by running the Rangely Times newspaper in 1994 and serving on the town council for two terms. She was elected as mayor for two terms.
Upon her election, she and a friend, John Stayer with the Association of Governments in Northwest Colorado (AGNC) formed a plan to improve Rangely.
Peggy had a “punch list” which included getting a new pool and forming the recreation district, building the water treatment plant, the million dollar Stanelon Street and the golf course. She was instrumental in writing legislation for severance taxes to come back to the communities and got it passed with only one dissenting vote. The key,” she said, “was getting people to work together.”
Rector has been involved with Club 20 for 35 years, serving as the chairperson and on the executive board; was a member of AGNC; worked with the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA); served on the Colorado River District; the Basin Round Table; the Colorado Highway Commission; the BLM Advisory Board; the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District during the development and construction of Kenney Reservoir, and also served as chairperson of the district. Rector was one of the organizers of Women’s Resource Center in Grand Junction for Northwest Colorado. She has been a member of the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce, the Rangely Junior College District advisory board, and has been chairperson of the foundation board for many years.
“We all want to take care of our environment and help our communities grow, and we can do it right,” Rector said. She understands the importance of involvement and politics far beyond the vast majority of citizens. She has a grasp on what the community needs and the drive and energy to walk the walk behind her talk.
She has volunteered countless hours and means for the annual Septemberfest festivities, the Crab Crack event, the CNCC Foundation dinner and the rock crawling group in Rangely. She also helped establish the networking committee with a vision to eliminate duplication of services and joint use of equipment.
“All taxing districts need to work together to provide the best service possible to the taxpayers,” Rector said.
She is modest about her accomplishments, saying, “I have had special people working with me. The key is leadership and individuals willing to come together.”
Rector’s efforts and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. She received the Dan Noble Award for Club 20 in 2007, the Club’s Lyman Thomas Award in 2008, the CNCC Foundation gave her an award in 2009, the Donor of the Year in 2007, the NAPEW Women of Excellence Award in 2007-08, and the Community Garden Pioneer Spirit Award in 2011. She was named to the State of Colorado College Invest board of directors in 2008, and Who’s Who for Madison Registry of Executives for three years for her business endeavors. These are just the awards that have found a place to hang in her office, but the list could go on for pages.
Rector believes that in order to make changes and contribute positively to the community you have to be involved. She has gone above and beyond the call of a mere citizen. She has a tremendous knowledge base in politics and the running of a community. It has been through her continued hard work that Rangely has survived all the ups and downs the economy provides.
Peggy has two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She and her husband Carl demonstrated the importance of hard work and giving back to their community. Today, their son Jeff volunteers behind the scenes in many community activities and contributed a great deal to the county fair livestock auction through his family business. Jeff’s wife, Rebecca serves on the Rangely School Board and Peg’s granddaughter Casey will finish four years of service to her country in September.
It is intriguing to think of the impact Peg could have had in bigger government had her accident not halted her climb, but the impact she has had on her small community is unmatched. Her example of integrity and unwavering perseverance is certainly something our towns, counties, and country would benefit from if her actions were imitated.