, 2022-08-17 16:38:11,
Peggy Thomasson Ackerman died peacefully at her home in the woods west of Little Rock on August 9, at the age of 91.
She was born in Pine Bluff on May 3, 1931, to V.O. Thomasson and Verda Sadler Thomasson, and spent her childhood surrounded by the Sadler clan in Rison.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, and fellow Risonian, George Link Ackerman, whom she married on November 2, 1957.
Survivors her two daughters, Susan, of Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Laura (Bruce Smoller), of Rochester, New York; two grandsons, Jason (Rachel Starr) and Gabriel (Sarah Cocuzzo); her great-grandson Benjamin Link Starr-Smoller; and a nephew, Tom.
She was the 1949 valedictorian of Rison High School and, in typical small-town fashion, was also the secretary-treasurer of the senior class, editor-in-chief of the yearbook, a guard on the district-champion basketball team, and a saxophonist in the marching band.
She attended Hendrix College, from which she graduated in 1952, and remained a loyal supporter of her alma mater. Following Hendrix, she received a MA from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1953, and did additional graduate work at the University of Wisconsin in 1954-55. Returning to Arkansas, she began working in Roscoe Dykman’s laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science and then at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, as a research psychologist specializing in the study of reading disabilities, a position she retained until her retirement in 2000.
Before the phrase “having it all” had been invented, Peggy was negotiating her way to a life that had room for both career and family. She often recalled with laughter that, after the birth of one of her daughters, Dr. Dykman brought a crank calculator to her hospital room and said, “While you’re just sitting here you might as well run a regression analysis.” And she did quietly find her way to a distinguished scholarly career. With Dykman and associates, she published scores of papers in journals such as the Journal of Learning Disabilities; the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology; the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry; and the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. She was first author on more than half of these papers and received the Pioneer Research Award from the Learning Disabilities Association in 1991. Those who knew the self-effacing Peggy never heard her trumpet these achievements,…
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