Cooking with care
A glance at John McIntyre’s class ring is just a glimpse of the 91-year-old World War II veteran’s loyalty. The ring is worn almost smooth from years of hard work, and more recently, dedicated cooking.
He picked up a pan for the first time at age 81 to cook for his late wife, Betty Ruth, as she battled Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. He would go on to serve the Easley community by preparing meals for neighbors and members of his church, win a 2007 national contest for his essay on what inspired him to cook, and receive the 2011 Easley Chamber of Commerce Duke Citizenship and Service Award.
McIntyre’s knack for preparing Southern dishes such as chicken boudine casserole, scalloped potatoes and fruit cobblers came out of necessity. When Betty Ruth did not enjoy the food served in the nursing home where she spent two months with an injured knee, McIntyre began preparing her meals. When he decided to bring her home and care for her full time, he also continued to take charge of the cooking.
He perfected Betty Ruth’s favorite dishes, such as grits pie and shrimp creole, to the point where the only thing she found wrong with his cooking was that “he hadn’t started 50 years sooner.” After her death in December 2005, McIntyre decided to continue giving back by sharing his dishes with others in the community.
One of nine children and the first and only member of his family to attend college, McIntyre attended Clemson on the GI Bill and earned a degree in textile management. McIntyre married Betty Ruth in 1951, and they moved from Spartanburg to Easley in 1957, where McIntyre worked for Draper Manufacturing Co. McIntyre formed John McIntyre Textiles and Machinery in 1969 and remained with his company until his retirement at age 79.