It was just after Hurricane Hugo, and the Sullivan's Island house Peggy Croom Bayliss lived in had been blown off its foundation. The owners of the lot that it sat on decided to sell it, but Bayliss was determined that her relationship with the place would continue.

She often had an unusual way of dealing with the realities life brought her way, according to friends and family who knew the woman who was born Oct. 23, 1942, and died Dec. 3.

It showed in the way she carried out her career, the way she lived her faith and the way she created a home after the hurricane.

Bayliss decided to bid on the lot where she had lived. Her bid was the lowest, but the owners admired her spirit and sold it to her, says daughter Jennifer Parker.

After buying the lot, Bayliss searched for and found a house on the island. She purchased the two-bedroom, one-bath house for $100 and had it trucked down the street to her lot.

Her fortitude is just one of the many qualities that makes Parker proud to call Bayliss her mother. Other qualities include the patience and understanding she exhibited as guidance director at Laing Middle School, a job she retired from in the late 1990s.

Many times, Parker, who used to teach at Wando High School, has met students who said that her mother was the reason they were still in school, she says.

Bayliss was a great listener who was full of energy and very able to relate to her young students.

It's not surprising to Parker that the students had their own "Peggy stories." Just about everyone who knew Bayliss had at least one or two good ones, Parker says. They include the Rev. John Zahl, associate for pastoral care at the Church of the Holy Cross on Sullivan's Island.

The minister says Bayliss stopped participating in the church for awhile because her grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, did not receive flowers one Easter Sunday.

Zahl says the story of why Bayliss became active in the church again says a lot about the woman with the collection of big earrings, a terrific smile and straight-shooting attitude.

"On a trip to England, she got into a cab in Canterbury and told the driver to take her to her hotel. He misunderstood and drove her instead to the Cathedral in Canterbury and she decided to roll with it. She was that kind of person."

She alighted and ran into the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is rarely there, Zahl says. She photographed him and proceeded into the cathedral. She went up to the front where the sermon, about doubting Thomas, was starting. The minister delivering the sermon looked directly at Bayliss, who had always identified with the Apostle.

She saw the series of events as a call from God to become more involved in the Episcopal Church, and that she had a church home, he says.

"Peg then became a very active member of the church," Zahl says. "She brought a combination of strength, reality and heart to it."

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705 or wminis@postandcourier.com.