Peggy Teeters dies: Author detailed her experiences as an Army wife

Peggy Teeters, a journalist, author and teacher is shown with Bernard Teeters, her husband at the time, at a New York restaurant in the 1940s.
Peggy Teeters, a journalist, author and teacher is shown with Bernard Teeters, her husband at the time, at a New York restaurant in the 1940s. (Family Photo)
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 19, 2011; 10:31 PM

Peggy Teeters, 92, who embarked on her writing career with a book detailing her experiences as an Army wife during World War II and the Korean War and went on to publish children's books and teach creative writing, died Jan. 27 at Knollwood, a military retirement facility in the District where she had lived since 2005. She had a stroke.

Over the past 20 years, Mrs. Teeters published four books, including three for young readers and one offering advice to aspiring writers. Earlier in her career, she often wrote women's columns for magazines and newspapers.

Her most recent book, "The Cat With No Tail" (1999), was an adaptation of a fable about the Manx cat, a breed of felines with naturally stunted tails. In Mrs. Teeters's version, the cat, late to board Noah's Ark, gets his tail chopped off while darting onto the boat.

She also taught creative writing in the Arlington County public schools' adult education program, as well as a popular Tuesday morning creative writing class at Culpepper Garden retirement home in Arlington.

A 1985 Washington Post article about her class said Mrs. Teeters "dishes out endless enthusiasm and encouragement" and offered "spiritual as well as intellectual uplift."

"I learn just as much from them as they learn from me," she said, describing her role as a adult writing teacher. "I've taught them that the only way to cope with rejection is to have a number of irons in the fire."

In the 1980s, Mrs. Teeters taught creative writing at a University of Virginia satellite campus in Falls Church.

She wrote a weekly column for the old Arlington News called "A Woman's World" in the 1970s, as well as freelance articles for the Army Times, Stars and Stripes and Highlights for Children.

In the early 1960s, she wrote a series of articles for the Atlanta Constitution newspaper called "The Life of an Army Wife," that illustrated her experiences raising a military family through two wars, moving 30 times in 22 years in the United States, Japan and Germany.

Her first book, "This Is the Army, Mrs. Jones," was a peek into the the lives of military wives. Published in 1963 shortly after Mrs. Teeters moved to Arlington, the book was written with Thelma Brown, a friend whose husband was also in the Army.

In the late 1950s, Mrs. Teeters wrote radio and pilot television scripts for public stations in the District while working as a substitute teacher at Yorktown High School in Arlington.

Elsie Barbara "Peggy" Lang was born Feb. 8, 1918, in Hoboken, N.J., and attended what is now Montclair State University in New Jersey. In 1953, she graduated from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, following the birth of her fifth child.

She volunteered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during the Vietnam War.

Her memberships included the Society of Children's Book Writers, Mystery Writers of America and the American Association of University Women.

Her marriage to Army Col. Bernard G. Teeters ended in divorce.

Survivors include five children, Barbara Jezior of Murrieta, Calif., Michael Teeters of Indio, Calif., Bernard G. Teeters Jr. of Amarillo, Tex., David Teeters of Centreville and Alan Teeters of Fairfax City; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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