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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

Margaret Anna Coles



     Margaret Anna Coles


Smith Family Bible, "Margaret Anna Smith - b. April 27, 1917" and grave stone in Coffin's Grove Cemetery, Manchester, Iowa. Suzan Hamer


       ". . . she was raised and educated in the area, graduating from the Manchester High School. Margaret moved to California. She graduated from Los Angeles City College. Margaret continued her education at UCLA and USC. She then worked at St. Vincent's Hospital in Los Angeles and Columbia University Medical School in New York. During her time in New York she flew airplanes, shuttling them for the military. Margaret was united in marriage to George Coles on April 2, 1949 in Arizona. Together they resided in Los Angeles. They moved to and resided in Manchester and Waterloo where they operated medical labs.

     George died on January 28, 1977. Margaret joined a medical group mission. During this time she invented the Coles CompaKit. Margaret moved to Hawaii where she worked at the University of Nations Lab. Margaret has resided at Coles Point, Virginia since 1993. She died at her home in Coles Point Saturday, June 12, 1999. She was 82 years of age. Burial at Coffin's Grove Cemetery, Manchester, Iowa.

    As a medical technologist, Margaret developed a portable medical testing laboratory which could be hand carried into the field and used in primitive bush environments to monitor village health, in midwifery, routine physical exams and water analysis. From the brochure describing the kit: "The portable Mini MedLab has been developed by Margaret Smith Coles, a medical technologist with over 40 years of experience and 10 years of medical testing in developing countries and rudimentary environments. As a medical team member and a missionary, Margaret lugged heavy lab equipment into developing countries. She realized then that miniaturization of laboratory equipment was necessary. While an instructor at the University of Nations in Kona, Hawaii, she saw her first miniaturized microscope. Excited that this idea could become a reality, Margaret worked with university engineers and professors to develop the initial prototype kit in the late 80s. Further development and testing was continued at Taylor University. Today the kit is constantly updated by Mrs. Coles, who continues to test and develop miniaturized equipment. This kit is unique in its ability to utilize simple methods of testing. "We have started at the basic roots of laboratory testing, actually restoring and revising older manual methods to fit the needs of those providing medical care in the existing environments of the developing countries." Mrs. Coles had held many positions, primarily in research, at hospitals and industries throughout the country including the University of Chicago, the Medical Institute for Research at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in LA and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Today Mrs. Coles travels internationally to present workshops and seminars on operating the Mini Medlab. She has demonstrated at institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, the CMDS/CMDE in Kenya, Africa, the University of London School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Illinois Medical School, Bethesda Medical School, Notre Dame, UC

reference:   From memorial notes for Margaret Anna Coles


~ transcribed and submitted by Colleen Arbegust Smith <sammy644@gmail.com>