Peggi Ann Rush

1962 - 2023


April 12, 2023

Peggi Ann Rush was born December 27, 1962 in Springfield, Oregon to Edith L. Baker and Robert W. Baker. She leaves behind a family she loved, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, as well as many friends she loved as family.

She left this lowly planet for the big racetrack in the sky, March 21, 2023. God needed a Pit Mama.

At the time she resided in Sweet Home.

As a girl Peggi was very active and loved sports, mostly basketball. She had tremendous work ethic and loved school.

Peggi had a way with words. She LOVED to meet everyone and get to know them and their story. She could tell you anything and everything about the people she cared about. Besides being an extreme extrovert, she also loved food and cooking. Whenever there was a family bbq or potluck, you knew Peggi was going to make something delicious to be shared with everyone.

Peggi was born with octane in her veins. She never gave up on the things she loved, particularly the people in her life. Her weekends as a child were spent at racetracks watching her dad and uncles race. From that, a passion grew for the racetrack and most importantly, the racers. In 1996 she started officiating races at the Cottage Grove Speedway, formerly Riverside Speedway. She quickly became a mentor to many young racers. They affectionately called her "Pit Mama."

As the Pit Mama, she made sure new racers were welcomed with open arms. She would take them around and introduce them to those they needed to know, while showing them what they needed to learn. Any nerves the racers had were quickly cured with Pit Mama around.

In the early 2000s, when the Cottage Grove Speedway was under threat of being shut down by the county, Peggi rallied the troops. She helped facilitate a grassroots movement that would eventually lead to the city of Cottage Grove annexing the speedway into the city limits. This would ensure that any improvements needed would be approved by the city and not the county, and with no threat of being closed. She had saved the racetrack.

Peggi not only cared for the racers in Cottage Grove but spent many years at other race tracks, including time at Gray Harbor Raceway and Willamette Speedway. She moved to Elma in 2008 and quickly became engaged with the race community there. At Gray Harbor she was known as "The Pit Boss." Some would say "Peggi was an icon in the Northwest" in the racing community. She never forgot any of her racers, even after they moved on. She kept close track of their racing careers and their personal lives as well. They were her kids and they were deeply loved.

In 2015, Peggi suffered a major heart attack which resulted in a quadruple bypass. However, this didn't stop Pit Mama. She was back at the track as soon as possible. Yet, the challenges that were brought on from that experience, would continue to impact her health until the end.

Her servant's heart did not stop with the racers she worked with. She was a caretaker through and through. Peggi made sure her elderly mother

was personally taken care of, even with her own health challenges. She and her mother lived together for over 15 years up until 2022, when her mom went to a care facility because of Peggi's failing health.

Peggi was ordained in 2017 and loved officiating marriage ceremonies, including her niece's wedding, Myndi Walters, in October 2020. Facilitating love and lifelong commitments between partners was something that brought her great joy.

She officiated as many wedding ceremonies as time allowed, with the biggest smile on her face and the most pride in her heart.

In 2018, she moved back to Oregon to look after her great-niece and great-nephew, making sure they had a happy and healthy home-life. Peggi had no children of her own, but through foster care and the racetrack, she loved all the kids as if they were her own. Peggi considered her animals (mostly cats) over the years her children and loved them dearly.

Loggers, foresters and farmers were also part of Peggi's DNA, especially since her grandfather and her father were part of the timber industry. Because of that, she kept up to date on the current issues affecting those who worked in Natural Resources. She loved our rural way of life and she advocated on our behalf whenever she could.

In 2019, the largest grassroots movement ever seen in Oregon happened, The Timber Unity movement was born. The momentum for this newly found group grew exponentially, which included a Facebook group of 65,000 people. Peggi was in a position in her life where she could take over the main moderat-ing duties of the Facebook group in August 2019. Over the next few years, she became one of the primary faces associated with the Timber Unity movement. She was the glue, the biggest cheerleader, and the ultimate caretaker aka Our Pit Mama.

One of her ultimate joys was Townhall Tuesdays, particularly during election years. She would encourage candidates from all spectrum's to share about themselves and their campaign, every Tuesday. Through this she developed friendships and special relationships with candidates and elected officials. She was incredibly influential in shaping the State of Oregon, during the last few election cycles before her departure.

After a stint in the hospital during the beginning of 2023, Peggi was placed in hospice care the end of February. She knew she had so much work yet to do, but she realized that her heart had given just about all it could. During the morning of March 18, Peggi was taken to the hospice house. Her caregivers and her best friend never left her side, staying there until the moment her soul left this earth and went home. She would have never left us if she did not have to, and we would not leave her.

Peggi had one of the most generous hearts with a humility that we could all use. She never sought recognition or praise, she just wanted to make sure her friends, family and state were well taken care of. As obvious throughout her entire life, Peggi treated every person she met equally, with love and respect. The hole in our hearts is big, but we take comfort in the fact we know we will see her again.

As soon as Peggi departed this earth, her mother Edie took an unexpected and drastic turn for the worse. She was immediately placed on hospice too. We believe that she must have known Peggi was gone and wanted to chase her home, for the two of them to finally be together again, forever. Edie went to be with Peggi on March 29, 2023.

There will be a Memorial Service at The Cottage Grove Speedway July 9, 2023, the weekend of Peggi's beloved Loggers Cup race.

The family will hold a private memorial and send Peggi off near the McKenzie River, where she wanted to be forever.

We love and miss you dearly, Pit Mama. Until we meet again, load 'em up and head out of the pits. You have won your final race.

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