Haines remembers paddling and hiking author Margaret Piggott

KHNS photo

Margaret Piggott, a local author and one of the original deejays on KHNS public radio, has died.

Originally from Scotland, Piggott was living in England at the outbreak of World War II. During the London Blitz, she was one of many children evacuated to the countryside as major cities were bombed. After the war she became a competitive hiker in the UK and trained as a physical therapist before coming to the United States.

In 1969 she made Haines her home, the population being less than 500. A lover of nature, she continued hiking and wrote “Haines is for Hikers,” the first pamphlet for Haines tourism aimed at those who enjoyed hiking. In 1974 she published her first book, “Discover Southeastern Alaska with Pack and Paddle,” chronicling dozens of hikes and a near two-week paddle trip between Juneau and Angoon.

Most recently, she published “No Place To Pee,” a memoir of her time in the mid-70s as one of the only women working on the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

Throughout it all, Piggott maintained a deep appreciation of classical music. She would share this appreciation with the Upper Lynn Canal as the first classical presenter on KHNS public radio.

“I do recall Margaret, as a very dedicated and enthusiastic presenter, I guess, for all things classical,” said KHNS founder Debra Schnabel. “And what made her I think so, popular, I guess you could say that about a classical player. You know, her accent, her British accent”

The classical show begun in the 1980s continues to this day as Allegro Ma Non Troppo. Despite suffering a stroke in 2010, Piggott continued to travel and adventure, alone and with friends such as Melissa Aronson.

The last time that she and I traveled, we went to the Panama Canal together. And she was 85,” Aronson said. “At that time, she was one month after having had hip replacement. And she went ziplining in Colombia, of all things, kind of gives you some idea. This is a person whose life was full. She was intellectually sharp. She loved classical music and of course, did the program on KHNS. She had adventures. And may we all just live our lives to the fullness that Margaret found in hers. She was a dear, dear friend and and I miss her greatly.”

Piggott touched the lives of many people during her decades here; through the sharing of music, her writing, and blazing trails in the Upper Lynn Canal. Through all of it, was her love of nature.

“Her relationship to nature, I think was very important to her,” Schnabel said. “And I do think that also established her personality in a lot of ways. She was a quiet, but very forceful person.”

Piggott was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas eve and passed away before the new year. She was 90 years old. She died surrounded by friends who held her hand while the music of Johann Sebastian Bach played.

KHNS - Haines

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