Peggy Grenz, a dynamic businesswoman and civic activist who was a leader in the real estate industry, died Dec. 7, her family said. She was 77.
Mrs. Grenz told The Bee in a 1981 profile that, like many women of her generation, she went to college in the 1950s for a “degree in husbandry.” She dropped out after a year at San Jose State to marry Raymond Grenz, who went on to be a developer and builder of custom homes in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties.
After raising a family, however, Mrs. Grenz launched her own business career and rose to leadership positions in professional and civic groups with “a broad, easy smile,” a “warmth and trust in people” and a “belief in herself that she can do whatever she sets out to do,” The Bee reported. With experience in helping sell her husband’s homes, she earned a real estate license in 1968. Five years later, she became a broker and opened her own office.
In 1980, she was named Realtor of the year by the Sacramento Board of Realtors and businesswoman of the year by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She was a director and regional vice president of the California Association of Realtors, 1981 president of the Sacramento Board of Realtors and a director of the National Association of Realtors. She served on the board of Commerce Security Bank.
Mrs. Grenz volunteered with the Sacramento Children’s Home Guild for 17 years and was president in 1967-68. She was a past president of the 20-30ettes, an auxiliary of the Active 20-30 Club.
She played a leading role in a fundraising project for the Sacramento Children’s Home Guild that involved construction of a donated home on American River Drive. With her experience in home building and real estate, she oversaw the sale of the house for proceeds that funded construction of a restaurant and gift shop to support the children’s home.
“One of the neighbors described her as a mover and shaker,” said her daughter Teri Goldner. “She really was a leader. She was a person who could make things happen.”
A longtime Republican Party activist, Mrs. Grenz ran unsuccessfully for the state Assembly in 1982. Two years later, Gov. George Deukmejian appointed her to the Small Business Development Board.
Born Nov. 2, 1936, in San Bernardino, Peggy Ann Poppett grew up in Santa Barbara and Phoenix before her family settled in Sacramento in 1949. She graduated from Grant High School.
After retiring in the 1990s, Mrs. Grenz was active in the Sacramento County and Sun City chapters of the Federation of Republican Women. She took up knitting and weaving, learned to spin yarn from raw wool, cotton and silk, and joined the Weavers and Spinners Guild and the Handweavers Guild of America. Besides making sweaters and scarves for family members and friends, she made and donated hats and blankets for foster children.
She was married for 50 years to her husband and had four children, including two sons, Jeff and Chris, who are Realtors. A former Sacramento and Fair Oaks resident, she lived most recently in Roseville, where she died at home in her sleep.
“It was just unexpected,” her daugher said. “She wasn’t ill. She had been out dancing the night before.”
Mrs. Grenz was predeceased by her husband in 2005. She is survived by four children, Jeff, Teri Goldner, Chris and Linda; and 11 grandchildren.
A service was held Dec. 17 at East Lawn Mortuary in Sacramento. Donations may be made to the Sacramento Children’s Home or the Federation of Republican Women Scholarship Fund.
Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.