FAMILY and friends are celebrating the life of Peg Coates, a legally blind Collingwood supporter who made headlines by dominating her aged care home's footy tipping competition for five straight years.
Mrs Coates died at Mercy Health Bethlehem Home for the Aged on Tuesday after a brief period of illness.
She was weeks out from her 98th birthday.
"Peg was a real lady in every sense of the word," Tim Coates, one of Mrs Coates' sons, said.
He said his mother was much loved and admired, with the "highest of high standards for herself and everyone around her."
She loved to help people and took pride in providing training where she could, Mr Coates said.
He remembered his mother as a kind, thoughtful, devoted, compassionate woman.
"She was smart, she was quick, she knew how to organise, and she loved other people's company," Mr Coates said.
He said Mrs Coates was a "very elegant" communicator who could express herself clearly.
"Even at 96 you thought you were talking to a 40-year-old," Mr Coates said.
His mother took great pride in her presentation, maintaining her hairdressing appointments and asking for help to apply lipstick to the very end.
"People always commented on her beautiful dress sense," Mr Coates said.
Fashion was one of her passions in life. Other loves included the footy and The Bendigo Club, where she worked over a 40-year period.
Mr Coates said his mother initially worked on reception at The Bendigo Club, then became involved in preparing for weddings and selling raffle tickets.
In a social media post, The Bendigo Club described Mrs Coates as an icon.
"Peg was not only a life member, lifelong volunteer, and employee, she was The Bendigo Club. Peg was the epitome of what it meant to be a member of The Bendigo Club and was central to its community for several decades," the post said.
The club offered the Coates family its condolences.
Mrs Coates had five children, 12 grandchildren and soon to be nine great-grandchildren.
"Her main love [in life] was her grandchildren," Mr Coates said.
"She was always very interested in what they were doing."
Shaun Morgan, Mrs Coates' grandson-in-law, would provide regular updates on the football season.
The family would poke fun that Mr Morgan was doing well in the Mercy Health Bethlehem footy tipping competition, prompting a swift response from Mrs Coates.
"She never wanted anyone to think Shaun was doing her tips. It was always her tips," Mr Coates said.
She was victorious in the Mercy Health Bethlehem footy tipping competition from 2016 - 2020.
Mr Coates said his mother considered refraining from the competition because she wanted others to have a chance to win.
He said his mother had always had a passion for football, but she became much more involved in footy tipping in the eight years she lived at Mercy Health Bethlehem.
"It was something to look forward to," he said.
While he said Mrs Coates would tune into matches on the TV, it was the radio she listened to most.
"She would have that transistor on up to her ear," Mr Coates said.
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Footy wasn't the only thing she'd tune into.
"She was always interested in politics and what was going on in the world," Mr Coates said.
"She was sort of up to date with everything."
Mrs Coates was not born blind. Her sight deteriorated in her last 20 years of life.
She was originally from Balranald in New South Wales. Mrs Coates was married to Frank Coates.
Mr Coates said his parents came to Bendigo in 1980. Continued drought affected their lives farming in Balranald.
Mrs Coates had a number of jobs earlier in life including managing a milk bar in Balranald and working in a frock shop in Melbourne's Elizabeth Street.
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