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Stacey Peck, 81; author of book about the lives of women in China

September 29, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Stacey Peck, 81, a former Los Angeles Times staff writer who wrote a book about the views of women in 1980s China, died of heart failure Sept. 22 at Century City Hospital, said Lori LeBoy, one of her two daughters.

From 1979 to 1983, Peck interviewed celebrities about their homes for The Times' Sunday magazine. An interview with restaurateur Madame Wu led Peck to develop a fascination with China.

For her book "Halls of Jade, Walls of Stone," Peck traveled throughout China and met with a cross-section of 45 women. A 1985 review in The Times called the work "valuable" for recording oral histories of women who remained in China through "stormy decades."

Peck was born Esther Lillian Nathan on Oct. 12, 1925, to Polish immigrants in Chicago.

At 16, she entered the University of Illinois and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1946.

The politically active Peck directed public relations for organizations that included the American Civil Liberties Union and City of Hope Hospital and Research Center. She also oversaw public relations for the Broadway department stores.

She changed her first name to Stacey because she thought it "would help her be taken seriously as a working woman," her daughter said. Her last name was from second husband James Peck, whom she met while covering fashion for the Beverly Hills Times.

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