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Frances Gregg obit - 1999

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Frances Gregg obit - 1999

Posted: 946468800000
Classification: Obituary
Edited: 993571992000
Marin Independent Journal
Friday, Dec. 24, 1999
Section B, pages 1-2

Marin multiculturalism pioneer Gregg dies
She opened one of first interracial camps in West
by Maia Werner
IJ reporter

With the death of Frances Rundall Gregg of Forest Knolls, Marin lost an early advocate of multiculturalism.

Gregg, along with her husband, Harold, founded Forest Farms Summer Camp in Forest Knolls in 1944. It was the first co-educational, interracial camp in the West, family members said.

She died Dec. 16 of a heart attack at Kaiser Hospital in Terra Linda at age 91.

Gregg spent 23 years operating the camp, which ran under the philosophy that "through exposure and understanding of different cultures, you become less likely to hate," said Gregg's granddaughter, Chloe Cook.

The camp had international counselors as well as campers at a time when there was a strong anti-foreigner sentiment. The Greggs welcomed everyone - even building their own pool when a Chinese counselor was told she couldn't swim at the Woodacre Improvement Club, remembers Gregg's daughter, Susan Conard.

Although the Greggs' activities were questioned by many - the FBI investigated them for suspicious activities and they were shunned by community members - they remained firm in their convictions.

"They would face prejudice down through action and reaction, and very calm, continual representation of a harmonious environment with multicultural teaching," Cook said.

Born and raised in Petaluma, Gregg received her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley, her teaching credential from Mills College in Oakland and her master's degree from Dominican College in San Rafael.

She taught drama and English at Hayward High School and folk dancing and drama in the community. After retiring, she taught in Taiwan and Turkey, and led literary tours with her company, Rediscovery Tours. She also published a collection of her life stories entitled "A Better World."

She helped found the first cooperative nursery school in Marin and was active with the San Geronimo Valley Presbyterian Church.

A lifelong member of the Marin Conservation League and an early member of the Marin Agricultural Trust, she and her husband worked to preserve vast tracts of Marin land for public use.

She is survived by four daughters, Chloe Gregg MacDonald, Susan Frances Conard, Linda Gregg and Louise Gregg; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at the San Geronimo Valley Presbyterian Church. Contributions may be sent to San Geronimo Valley Presbyterian Church, Box 98, San Geronimo 94963, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Box 809, Point Reyes Station 94956, or the Marin Conservation League, 55 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. 21, San Rafael 94903.

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