Margaret "Peg" Phillips, 84, was born in Everett and worked as a bookkeeper and accountant before she retired in 1983 at age 65. The following year she enrolled in the UW drama school; she soon attained roles in local plays and in a 1985 TV movie. In 1990 she signed on for the occasional bit part of shopkeeper Ruth-Anne Miller on the locally shot TV series Northern Exposure. Her understated wit and unpretentious charm soon got her promoted to the show's central cast. She accepted a handful of other TV and film roles (including Touched by an Angel, ER, and a recurring part on 7th Heaven), but the bulk of her work remained here. She started the Woodinville Repertory Theatre and a drama program for young inmates at the Echo Glen Children's Center. Over the years she survived the Pearl Harbor attack (she was a Navy wife in Hawaii at the time), polio, peritonitis, a ruptured aorta, and, at age 81, a broken hip and wrist after being hit by a car. She was finally stopped on November 7 by lung disease. (She was once quoted as saying, "I've been smoking since I was 13 years old, and during the Eisenhower administration I peaked at three packs a day. I'm not about to stop now.")

Reader Charlie Mas wrote in to obits@thestranger.com on November 8 (after the Seattle School Board declined to fire Superintendent Joseph Olchefske over the alleged mishandling of a $33 million budget deficit): "Today we can report the death of the education reform movement called 'Accountability.' This movement, once popular in Seattle, died suddenly from a lack of consequences to the leadership of Seattle Public Schools following the discovery of financial bungling by the Superintendent, the senior staff, and the Board (except Director [Mary] Bass). Accountability will not be mourned, as it was generally used as a club to beat students, teachers, administrators, and schools for failures which were often outside their control or built into the system. Accountability is based on consequences. The District leadership failed miserably, but suffered none. Since an organization's culture is set at the top, the culture of accountability in Seattle Public Schools is officially dead."

The Denny's restaurant on University Way closed on November 10. The chain's newest Seattle outlet opened in 1999 (in what had been the Pizza Haven chain's first location), outfitted in the company's current retro-diner look. It ostensibly fell to the Ave's ongoing construction closure, but it follows the demise of the struggling circuit's Northgate, Lake City, Aurora, and Mercer branches. Grand Slam Breakfasts and other Denny's fare can still be had at its last surviving Seattle fooderies, in Ballard and on Fourth Avenue South.

obits@thestranger.com