Phyllis I. Anderson
Phyllis Irene Anderson was born to John George and Amelia Ann Shackleton in the city of Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, England on December 29, 1910. Phyllis was strong in body and spirit, determined to make the world a better place. She did so one person at a time, one cause at a time, one institution at a time. She was generous with her time and affection with her family, her friends and anyone she met.
Phyllis championed the underdog and supported social justice causes, especially those that stood for women’s rights. She was active in Socialist politics in England as a young child prior to her family immigrating – at her suggestion – to the United States. She became a U.S. citizen and continued to vote and work for progressive candidates the rest of her life. She cast her final vote in the last presidential election. Her candidate lost.
Phyllis attended Malet Lambert School in England and later the Alfred A. Adler Institute of Psychiatry in New York City. Phyllis was curious about so many things – art, architecture, dance (she credited her ability to walk well past 100 to her “ballet legs”), music, health, nutrition, psychology, spirituality, investing and education. She bought herself a computer in her 90s to keep up with current events and correspond with friends. Phyllis lived through World War I as a child in England and witnessed the devastation in her home city. She experienced the Great Depression as a young woman in New York City and World War II as a new mother.
Phyllis loved New York City and lived and worked there for several years in the cosmetics industry. She became Charlie Revson’s right hand woman in the early days of Revlon, writing copy and traveling to department stores to promote new products. She was a pioneer for women in the work place and later started an employment agency that specialized in training women with no prior work experience.
Phyllis married Stan Davis and had two children, Carol and Richard. She divorced and later married John B. Anderson, they lived together in cities across the U.S. for almost 30 years until his passing. After John’s death she moved to Santa Barbara to be close to her daughter and grandchildren. She spent happy times quilting, doing needlework, playing bridge and golf, traveling and volunteering. After her son Richard’s death she turned to the practice of Buddhism which she continued for the remainder of her life.
She retired to Vista del Monte at the age of 97. There she volunteered on the Residents’ Association, visiting friends and strangers in the hospital section, telling stories and keeping them informed of local and national affairs. She sensed when someone needed comfort, and sat by many bedsides of those who were dying, those who were grieving. She listened with a compassionate heart. She believed strongly in the value of human connection and devoted a good portion of her life to demonstrating this truth.
Phyllis affected many lives but was modest about her intelligence, her humor and her accomplishments. Her independent spirit and love of people will long be remembered by those fortunate enough to have known her.
Phyllis is survived by her daughter Carol Preston, her grandchildren Hal and Alicia Preston and by her beloved extended family and friends.
The family thanks the caregivers and staff at Vista del Monte, Happy Living and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for taking care of Phyllis as she aged. A Remembrance of Phyllis’ long life will be held in Sierra Madre Lounge, Vista del Monte on July 26th at 10:30 a.m. Those who wish to remember her are invited to donate to a progressive political cause or candidate, or an organization supporting women’s rights. And remember to vote, Phyllis would approve.