Margaret Markey Gest, 81, passed away peacefully after a long illness on June 27, 2020. Margaret, known as Peggy to friends and as Cookie to her parents and siblings, was born and raised in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second of four children of Owen C. Markey, Sr., who worked for most of his career as a bank manager at Provident National Bank; and Lillian Margaret Markey, a homemaker who worked intermittently in textile mills.
Peggy’s early life revolved around family life and her Catholic School education. She often told interesting stories of the nuns, and the “fashionable school uniform” she had to wear. Although such a uniform eliminated the need for guess work in the morning. Then there was that special day when she and some friends went to see “Johnny Ray, the latest singing sensation”. In their excitement they never thought to change out of their “fashionable uniforms” and were noticed as they stood out at the event. The next day they were called out by the school principal. What an embarrassment, but she always said it was worth it!
She learned to play the piano in school and worked at improving her skills on the instrument throughout her life. After graduating with honors from high school she began work as a secretary at IBM, where she earned enough money to buy her own car, a 1953 Plymouth Belvedere four door light gray sedan, a truly momentous event as she didn’t know how to drive. Dad spent a lot of time instructing and Peg caught on quickly.
She met her future husband Everett (Ev) while both worked at IBM. They were married in 1960 and Peggy spent the rest of that decade as a devoted wife and mother in Pennsylvania (York and Broomall) where she had four healthy children. The 1970s brought a move to Rochester, Minnesota, and tireless devotion to supporting her children’s educations, driving carpools to their endless activities, and volunteering in the community. While keeping up with many relocations and raising four children and their activities, she gamely took up skiing, camping and golf, even winning a local golf tournament. She took great joy in being a stay-at-home mom and in the experiences she and Ev were able to provide their children. The 1980s were spent in Georgia (Dunwoody) and a return to paid work to support her children’s college educations; during this time she also served as self-designated publicist for her children’s educational accomplishments.
Peggy and Ev retired to North Carolina in the mid-1990s (to Pinehurst, then Mebane), where for many years they enjoyed an active life of golfing, gardening and hosting visits from their children and growing numbers of grandchildren. They remained utterly devoted to caring for each other as they faced a series of increasingly serious health challenges. Peggy was with her husband of 59 years when he passed away in November of 2019.
Peggy is survived by son Michael (Julia Koch) of El Cerrito, California; daughter Kathleen (Mel Jones) of Chapel Hill; son Scott (Julie) of Crozet, Virginia; daughter Terri (Kirby) Dial of Urbandale, Iowa; grandchildren Nora and Ryan Gest, Maura and Ewan Jones, Caitlin and Conor Gest, and Reese and Sydney Dial; and by her beloved brother David of Hatfield, Pennsylvania; and her dear sister Marianne of Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania. She was predeceased by her brother Owen.
The family will hold a memorial reception at a location and future date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Peggy’s memory be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children or the Parkinson’s Foundation, please use the links on the left.
The Gest family is under the care of Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill.
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