Phoebe Ferris McCoy ’37

ferrisPhoebe Ferris McCoy died peacefully on November 4th in Greenbrae, California. She was 96.

Phoebe’s keen intelligence, enthusiasm and joy were the foundation of her life. Whether she was Mother Nature at her grandson’s school, or hosting the Dalai Lama at the Sacred Art of Tibet Exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, or running her own winery, she brought a gracious zest to whatever she undertook. Notable for limericks, poetry and obscure songs from the 1930s she maintained her sense of humor and many friendships until the end.

Phoebe was born in Spokane, the daughter of Joel E. Ferris and Clara Hughes Ferris. She attended Lewis and Clark High School and the Northampton School for Girls in Massachusetts. She graduated from Smith College, Class of ’41.

She married Philip James McCoy from Sandpoint, ID during WWII. Phil was a lieutenant aboard a minesweeper with patrol responsibilities off of the Alaskan coast with his homeport in San Francisco. Following the end of the war they made their home in San Francisco. They had six children: Sarah, Joel, Peter, Janet, Martha and Lucy.

Phoebe she supported Sunny Hills Orphanage, the Junior League, Campfire Girls, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and the De Young Museum, the Asian Art Museum, and the Society for Asian Art in San Francisco. Phoebe owned and operated Phoebe McCoy Vineyards (PMV) in Knight’s Valley with her son Peter. They produced an excellent Chardonnay.

True to her father’s commitment to a strong civic involvement in Spokane, Phoebe remained actively involved as a Board member of the Ferris Foundation, an organization founded by her father dedicated to educational and cultural enrichment through the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and the support of Eastern Washington Historical Society. Phoebe made annual trips back to Spokane to spend time with her lifelong friends and family.

Phoebe’s positive attitude toward life and her unusual courage and strength in spite of her losses, were an example to everyone who knew her. She was predeceased by her sister Sarah Ferris Fuller, her husband Phil and children: Joel McCoy, Janet McCoy, Peter McCoy and Lucy McCoy.

Phoebe is survived by her daughters: Martha McCoy of Calistoga and Sarah Dole of Sebastopol; grandchildren: Krishna Dole, Joel Creager, Kyle Creager, Clara Turner and Fiona Riley; great-grandchildren, Griffin and Beatrice Dole and many devoted nieces and nephews.

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