Phyllis Brown

Phyllis Mae Brown (Hunt)

Friday, January 26th, 1923 - Sunday, August 9th, 2020
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Phyllis M. Brown
(January 26, 1923 – August 9, 2020)
We are saying goodbye to our mother, GP (Gramma Phyllis), great-grandmother, teacher, librarian, world traveler, gardener, cross-border shopper, knitter, dancer, carpenter, fixer-of-roofs, baker of fruit pies, chopper-of-wood, crossword puzzle aficionada, and all-round feisty person.

Phyllis left from The Village at University Gates in Waterloo, ON on her last journey on August 9, 2020, at the age of 97. We hope it’s a cruise to a tropical destination, as that would make her happiest, happier even than a weekend trip to Duluth (pre-Covid).

Phyllis Mae Hunt was born to Eva and Stanley Hunt of Amelia Street in Fort William on January 26, 1923. Younger sister to Marguerite (Peggy), she enjoyed her childhood in Westfort, going on drives in the family car (always blue, as was her mother’s preference), picnicking at Chippewa, Kakabeka, and Middle Falls. She attended Francis Street School and later FWCI and was a long-time member of St. Thomas Anglican Church. Following graduation at 17, she completed teacher training at Normal School in North Bay, making friends there with whom she kept in touch for many years. Phyllis’s first teaching position was in Blake Township, where she presided over a one-room schoolhouse that was heated by a wood stove. That was followed by positions at schools in Rosslyn, Neebing, and eventually in the city, at Francis Street School.

Phyllis stayed home for a few years when her children were young, spending the spring and summer months in her large backyard garden where she grew flowers and vegetables in abundance. The cold cellar and freezer were always full of canning and produce. She returned to teaching as the kids got older. School breaks were spent with the family on the road, enjoying driving holidays across Canada and the US, exploring Civil War history and the South. For many years, beginning in 1969, Phyllis spent summers on the go, studying Spanish in Mexico and Spain, and touring Europe with friends. Spain was always a favourite, as were cruises. In total, 32 cruises took her around most of the world. Her last cruise was in 2008, at age 86.

Phyllis loved teaching grammar, spelling, art and music; she assembled many choirs and participated in local music festivals. During this time, she returned to university study at Lakehead University, completing her BA, and also completed, during the summers, certification as a library specialist. Former students, now seniors themselves, still remember her for her style, jewelry, and travel stories. Following the closure of Francis Street School, she relocated to Heath Park and concluded her teaching career there. After retirement in1983, Phyllis continued her library work, setting up libraries for the public school board for several years on a part-time basis.

Retirement years were split between Florida and the family camp at Sandy Beach, Chippewa until 2013 when she relocated to Heritage River Retirement Home to be closer to family. Scenic Elora, Fergus, Guelph and Waterloo became new places to visit, dine out, and shop.

Left to mourn and remember are daughters Dr. Dianne Conrad (Waterloo) and Judith Brown (Jerry,Thunder Bay); grandchildren Lea (Darryl) Boyd in Waterloo; Nathan Conrad (Anne) in Houston, TX; Nicholas Conrad (Paige) in Edmonton; and Courtney Brown (Kenny) in Thunder Bay; great-grandsons Matthew and Dylan Boyd (Waterloo). She will also be remembered with fondness by the Bob Passley family in British Columbia; by members of the Boyd family and the Conrad family, by niece Renie Karam, by former students and colleagues in Thunder Bay, neighbours and friends in Westfort; Sandy Beach, Chippewa; Brooksville, Florida; Heritage River and Wellington Terrace staff in Elora; and University Gates staff in Waterloo. She was a favourite in all her care homes, renowned for her sense of humour and sassy comebacks. Special thanks for years of excellent care from Drs. Krupa,Howell, Simpson, and Whitby.

We can’t express enough gratitude to the amazing staff in the Downey Unit at University Gates. Their attention to and care of Phyllis in the last few years has been extraordinary. We can’t name you all but we love you.
Phyllis was the hardest-working and most determined person imaginable. We are grateful to her for inheriting even a fragment of her drive and ethic.

Cremation has taken place. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Graham A. Giddy Funeral Homes-Waterloo. In lieu of flowers, donations Nature Conservancy of Canada would be appreciated. Condolences and donations online at 519.888.7700
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Bobby Elvish

Posted at 12:38pm
We are very sorry for you loss. We have such fond memories of Phyllis stopping over for a visit at the camp at our beloved Sandy Beach. Take care of each other! Bob and Odene Elvish, Thunder Bay

Lea Boyd Posted at 08:23am

Thank you Bob and Odene. We hope you are well. I miss those days more than I can say & I imagine that's the same for you both and yours. Love, Lea & Fam

Bonnie Yule

Posted at 09:52am
Dear Dianne and Judith, I'm sorry for your loss. I remember your mom, mostly from Francis Street School, but also from playing at your house. She was a stylish, accomplished lady who made a difference to many students over the years.

Tim Passley

Posted at 11:05pm
Judith, Diane, and Courtney,

Our Sincerest condolences on the loss of your mother and grandmother. She was a strong woman who took her teaching seriously and valued all of her students. I had her for Grade six at Frances st School and remember her as thorough demanding and oh did I mention tough! No special treatment even for a nephew, She worked us hard and always had extra spelling of the most difficult words for us; to this day people ask me how I can spell some of those words so easily and confidently and I always tell them about my Aunt Phyllis from Grade 6.

We will miss her and please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Tim, Michelle, and Hannah Passley

Dianne Conrad Posted at 11:58am

Thank you, Tim.

Marija Rucchin

Posted at 07:38pm
Dear Dianne, Judith and your families.
I would like to extend my deepest sympathy in this your most difficult time.
I remember your dear mother when she would some times come to Jessop's Drug Store. She would be dressed so nicely, and always be so friendly. What a lovely lady.

Marija Rucchin

Dianne Conrad Posted at 11:59am

Thank you so much Marija. It’s so good to hear from you. I know you have suffered your own sad losses. Happy that you remember my mother! We had some good times at the store, right! I always remember Jack and Fred fondly too. Take care.

Diane M

Posted at 05:44pm
As I am sure you will read, Phyliss Brown was an influence in many of our school lives and memories. I LOVE grammar (weird) because of Mrs. Brown. She told me she had a soft spot for me because my name was the same as her daughter's. Spelled differently but still earned me some "brownie points" in grade 6. Enjoy your next journey!

Diane MacLaurin (Cummings)

Dianne Conrad Posted at 12:01pm

Thank you! I changed the spelling of my name! :) Yes, she was heavy on the grammar and spelling. With me too!

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