PHOENIXVILLE - Phoenixville Public Library has received the donation of a cookbook collection in name of Peggy Coates.
Joan McIntyre, friend of the late Mrs. Coates, donated several cookbook titles in her memory. The wife of Brigadier General John Boyd Coates Jr., M.D., who was at one time commander of Valley Forge Army Hospital (the current site of Valley Forge Christian College), Margaret Coates was a well liked and respected member of the Phoenixville community.
The cookbooks include Chinese, French and cafe-style cuisine and recipes from the famous Le Bec-Fin restaurant. Totaling an estimated $300, the titles are high-quality books chosen by library employee and gourmet cook, Harriet Chachkes.
"I wanted to do something for her," said Joan McIntyre, who met Mrs. Coates at the Army Hospital more than thirty years ago. The two remained friends until Peggy Coates' death on June 11, 2003.
At the funeral, Peggy Macela, Mrs. Coates' daughter, suggested that a memorial relate to cooking because it was one of her mother's interests.
"One thing she loved was cooking," said McIntyre, "This is a happy memorial for her." Mrs. Coates, during her time as an army wife from 1937 to 1971, visited sick and wounded, organized events and was very involved in the Army hospital and community.
"She always did something special," said McIntyre, "She was excellent with all of the patients." Peggy Coates was known for helping troops, families and beautifully decorating for the holidays.
"She lives in my memory as a role model especially for women she guided through life in the military," said McIntyre.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Peggy Coates lived in Phoenixville from 1972 on, after traveling across United States and world with her husband. With his various military posts, the couple lived in Texas, California, Germany and Puerto Rico. Mr. and Mrs. Coates are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
She was a graduate of University of Alabama with a B.A. in dietary science. She also was a Walter Reed Hospital intern in Washington, D.C.
"She was very ahead of her time," said McIntyre, "She was always most gracious." She added that Coates' level of education and involvement was rare at that time.
Joan McIntyre, who donated the cookbooks last month, spent 17 years running Phoenixville Public Library's children's library. She also was instrumental in establishing the children's library program.