Margaret (“Peggy”) Ann Mowday Garver, age 83, died on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 at the VNA Hospice of Philadelphia (Falls Center) due to complications from encephalitis. Her son remained at her side in her last days and hours. Born in Coatesville, 11 June 1937, to Willis Abner and Mary Alice (McWilliams) Mowday, she was baptized in infancy by the Rev. Wilbur M. Smith and grew up in the Christian nurture of her family and of Coatesville Presbyterian Church.
While in high school, Peggy met Bruce Allen Garver through Youth for Christ and they would later marry on a snowy Tuesday evening, 20 December 1960. Peggy and Bruce remained married nearly 57 years when he suddenly passed away in November 2017, which she grieved deeply.
Throughout her high school years and for many years thereafter, Peggy developed her musical talents, particularly voice, often singing for religious programming on the local Coatesville radio station, WCOJ. After graduating S. Horace Scott Senior High in 1955, Peggy received vocal training at then West Chester State College and went on to appear in productions of Puccini’s La Bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Lancaster Opera Workshop. She continued singing for churches and celebrations for many decades.
Over the years Peggy held administrative support positions at various places, including Lukens Steel Company (Coatesville, PA), the designers of Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (SC), Standard Pressed Steel (Jenkintown, PA), and a medical practice (Abington, PA).
Most influentially, however, “Aunt” Peggy volunteered her time in support of the Christian education of children. For nearly 5 decades she taught 2-3 year olds in Sunday School at Calvary Presbyterian Church (Willow Grove, PA) and later at Tenth Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia), bringing her musical and creative talents to their loving instruction and nurture. She also supported and volunteered at Phil-Mont Christian Academy, working for a time in the guidance office there.
In addition to her extensive gardening, Peggy will perhaps be most remembered for her continual and attentive ministry to others through writing encouraging notes and cards, making phone calls to the sick and shut in, baking and distributing cookies, and crocheting baby blankets for virtually every child born within her circle of acquaintances.
Over these many years, Peggy was a tireless, loving, and attentive mother to S. Joel (Laurel), who survives her along with granddaughter Claire Elise.
Graveside funeral services will be private, though a memorial service is anticipated once restrictions due to the pandemic are lifted.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Peggy’s name may be made to the Whosoever Gospel Mission in Germantown (Philadelphia): https://www.whosoevergospel.org/wp/financial-donations/
The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff of VNA Hospice of Philadelphia for their attentiveness, kindness, and care during these difficult final days. Following Bruce before her, Peggy asked that her life always be remembered in light of the words of St. Paul: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”
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