Adventurous spirit with a lot to giveDecember 17, 2011
Phyllis, who passed away in May 2010, supported CERA over ten years as a regular donor and by attending numerous events. In her later years, Phyllis struggled with low vision and recognised the need for greater research into eye disease.
Born in Melbourne, Phyllis was the granddaughter of The Honourable J. H. Connor, a Member of the Lower House of the Victorian Parliament.
Educated at Melbourne Girls Grammar, she excelled at French, Latin, Physics, Chemistry and Cooking.
“Phyllis was the product of a forward thinking school under the leadership of a woman who did much to advance the education of young women in a world that still saw them as subservient to males,” said Reverend Geraldine Nixon in the eulogy she gave at Phyllis’ Memorial Service.
“Though I wouldn’t describe her as a strident feminist, it was just natural for her to pursue her own interests.”
On completing her secondary education, Phyllis studied at Emily Macpherson Cottage where she undertook cooking, dressmaking, millinery and French.
A gregarious girl with an adventurous spirit, Phyllis joined numerous social and sporting groups.
During the Second World War, she showed her adventurous side, becoming a driver for the army and working for the military secret service.
“Phyllis kept this clandestine part of her life quiet and maintained an air of secrecy until recently, when she revealed to close family that she worked with people collecting information on ports and airfields in the Pacific,” said Reverend Nixon.
Friends describe Phyllis as being a self sufficient, resourceful, pragmatic woman with endless interests.
“Her love of life made her an excellent companion for those who were fortunate enough to know her,” Reverend Nixon said.
“Phyllis’s life was a long and full one; the biblical three score and ten and a lot more!”
Find out more about CERA’s bequest program.