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Phyllis K. Bogen

Jul 29, 2009

Surrounded by her children and grandchildren, long-time islander Phyllis Bogen died at her home in Cypress Cove, Fort Myers on July 15, 2009. She was a forever young and ever-dynamic 84 years old.

Phyllis was an inspiration and guiding spirit to all around her and will be sincerely missed. Her kindness, generosity, curiosity, activism and devotion to all who were blessed to know her will live within us forever.

An active member of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, CROW and Planned Parenthood, she also served as a voice of reason on the City of Sanibel Planning Commission, and was a long-time member of the Community Housing Resources board. She bought the now-extinct Sanibel Gallery in Heart of the Islands from artist Jane Valtin in the mid 1980s, and ran it until the early 1990s when she sold it.

Phyllis was a founding member of Sanibel-Captiva Zonta, organized the Cypress Cove Democratic Club, and served on the executive committee of the Lee County Democratic party. Several years ago she started a blog dealing with controversial issues on Sanibel and around the county called “sanibelalert@zebis.com.”

“We were very good friends for 25 years,” former islander Maggie Mullins said. “She brought me into Zonta in the very beginning. We travelled together, we moved to Cypress Cove together, and we even lived on the same hall.

“We were dear, devoted friends even though we had our differences at times. She had a most generous and loving heart,” she added. “I miss her already and will continue to miss her.”

“Phyllis was very dedicated and worked hard on whatever project she was participating in,” commented island resident Berdenna Thompson. “She was a lovely lady, open and frank, and didn’t hesitate to say her piece. I really respected her.”

“Phyllis was a wonderful advocate,” said Jan Chester, Planned Parenthood vice president, “whether it was for Planned Parenthood, for women’s rights, for human rights, for the right to family planning or access to prevention education. She led by example; she stood up for what she believed in, and had a smile on her face as she forcefully stated her take on an issue. We will miss her greatly.”

Phyllis is survived by her children – Leslie, Russell, and his wife, Beth, and Janice; and her cherished grandchildren – Steven, Jason, Sonja, and Willie. She is also survived by her brother, Joel Kastein, and his wife, Gloria, and her sister, Shirley Kramish, and her husband, Arvin, along with several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held in Edison Hall at Cypress Cove on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in Phyllis’s name be sent to SCCF, 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957 (www.sccf.org); to CROW, P.O. Box 150, Sanibel, FL 33957; or to Planned Parenthood, 8595 College Parkway-Suite 250, Fort Myers, FL 33919 (www.plannedparenthood.org).