Phyllis Mary, born in England on August 11, 1916, and passed away on January 7, 2015. Upon her arrival to the United States, she immigrated to Camden, New Jersey, where she lived and worked for many decades in the Fairview neighborhood. She held many positions with Campbell’s Soup, Radio Condenser, various sewing shops, and nursing homes. Phyllis left the city as most did after she married. Her husband, Walter, an RCA Victor draftsman, bought land and built a home in what was Delaware Township (now Cherry Hill). Together they raised four children; Howard, Phyllis Edith, Charles, and Kenneth.
Phyllis died in the house her husband Walter built, poetically at the age of 98. We were all convinced the woman would live to be at least 100 years old, because age was the only vice against her. She was as healthy as a bull, stubbornly moving furniture throughout the day well into her 90’s.
My grandmother deserves a big place here on this site, because her stories of Camden were the first text books this Urban Studies major ever had. She would end every story with, “I really do want to go back to Fairview. Everything was right about my street. The market had salmon everyday, and you could get things Philadelphia did not have. I regretted leaving the moment the woman, down the block there, her name was Mrs…. hmm, I forget now, but she had her dog mess on our yard”. My sister and cousins can attest, that story was expected upon every visit.
Thank you, Grandmom, for always loving me, and being incredibly generous to my entire family. Thank you, Grandmom, for inspiring my younger self into believing that Camden can again be the place that you use to call home. After 98 years on this Earth, you’ve seen two continents, two world wars, and a city invincible.
Go dance with Grandpop now, the music recordings of the Victor play very well in heaven.