Phyllis E. Sylvester passed away on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010 in Granville, Ohio. She was 90.
Born Phyllis Elaine Bear, on Christmas Eve in 1919. After losing their father when they were very young, she and her sister Margaret, also of Granville, were cared for by their mother, Bonnie, and Bonnie’s brother, Corwin, in Monticello, Ill.
Raised on a grain farm, Phyllis learned to drive a tractor when she was 10 and was very proud of the fact that she could plow a row of corn and make the turn to the next row without slowing down.
Phyllis excelled in mathematics and earned a degree in Home Economics, with a minor in Chemistry, from Millikin University, where she met her husband, Robert Sylvester. Her favorite thing to do was dancing and she was known as the best dancer on campus. She supported her husband through medical school in St. Louis by working as a stewardess on the B & O Railroad, and later by working in a chemistry lab. Her husband became a pediatrician, practicing in Boston, Columbus and all of Licking County, Ohio. An expert in fielding phone calls from parents (day and night), Phyllis did the bookwork and substituted as a receptionist in her husband’s office.
Before her marriage and after her children went to college, she also taught home economics and science. Her interest in nutrition helped cause the Granville schools to begin paying more attention to healthy eating at school. But the years raising her “four beautiful children,” Phyllis called the best time in her life.
After retirement, she and Robert lived for many years on Sanibel Island where
they even reunited with some old college friends. Phyllis was an excellent cook, a voracious reader and also enjoyed boating and sewing as well as the companionship of her dogs. She and Robert were long time members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Granville.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Robert, in September 2009, and is survived by her sister Margaret Eakin; two sons, John, who lives in Florida, and Philip and his wife, Joan, of Oregon; two daughters, Jane, of California, and Amy Wells, and her husband, Ken of Ohio; and grandchildren, Nate, Rachel, and Eoin; two nephews and a niece, Lloyd, Scott, and Marla.
Phyllis was a dear friend to many and was known for her generosity of spirit, mischievous nature and sharp wit. She will be dearly missed.
A memorial service to celebrates Phyllis’s life will be held in Granville, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Phyllis’s memory may be made to Haitian Relief through St. Luke’s in Granville, to Hospice of Central Ohio in Newark, or to The Humane Society.