Melissa W. Phillips
December 18, 1953 – January 25, 2022
Melissa Phillips died peacefully at home, after a mercifully brief struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She was 68 years old.
She was born in Hartford, Connecticut, to John and Martha Williams. She met her husband, Robert Phillips, at Rice University in Houston, Texas. They married on May 11, 1975, and remained steadfast and devoted to each other for more than 46 years. The final word she spoke, two days before her death, was “Robert”.
Their life together took them many places including Bellingham, WA; Westford, MA; and Calgary, AB and Brookfield, MA, where their children grew up. They had three children, Martha (of Bellingham, WA), Ian (married to Alice, with their son AJ, of Bellevue, WA), and Graham (with partner Ashley, of Washington, DC). Melissa was described by her friends and family as the quintessential mother: she respected her children while still guiding them, set safe boundaries while still giving them freedom to explore, and had endless fun with them while still being a parent. She was deeply – and rightfully – proud of her outstanding life as a mother and wife.
Melissa could design and sew anything, knit anything, and cook anything from scratch. And although she loved traveling to spend time with family, and touring world historical sites with Robert, her favorite place was her home, enjoying a quiet afternoon with a murder mystery novel and a cup of tea.
Melissa’s final gift to her family was a comprehensive and detailed Living Will, in which she made abundantly clear her choices for her care during the final stages of her illness, and after her death. In following her wishes, her family was proud to donate her brain to the UW Biorepository and Integrated Neuropathology (BraIN) Laboratory in Seattle. It is their hope that, through this donation, she can contribute to the ongoing research in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementias, so that other families in the future may be spared the devastation and loss inflicted by this disease.
She is remembered and mourned by countless family members, cousins, nieces, nephews, and close friends throughout North America. A celebration of her life will be held later this year, and her ashes scattered in the places she loved the most.
We miss you, Mom.