Dr. Phyllis H. Pierce, 65, of Rutland, Vt., died peacefully at home on November 27, 2012, from a long courageous battle with a neurological illness.
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She was born in Chicago, Ill., on July 10, 1947. Phyllis was the daughter of Albert and Naomi Harward. She was predeceased by her brother, Alfred Harward.
Phyllis received her bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in 1969. She then earned her master's and doctorate degrees from Florida State University in 1976. She had been a licensed clinical psychologist in Vermont from then until her retirement in 2004. Phyllis met and married Roger C. Pierce while both were in graduate school at Florida State University. They married in Ocala, Fla., November 24, 1972.
She and Roger moved to Washington, D.C., where she completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Phyllis and Roger then moved to East Wallingford, Vt., in 1975. She was employed by Rutland Mental Health as a clinical psychologist for seven years. During part of this time, she was an adjunct instructor at The College of St. Joseph. In 1982, Phyllis and her husband started a private practice providing individual, couple and group psychotherapy. They practiced under the name Pathways of Rutland. For the first 10 years of practice, treatment was provided to Vietnam veterans through a contract with the Veterans Administration. During part of this time, she also served on the board of directors of the Rutland County Women's Network and Shelter. She was listed in Who's Who of American Women. She was a founding member and past president of PsychCare Network.
Phyllis first dated her husband on his motorcycle and her love of riding with him continued throughout her life. She was a member of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Vermont since 1998. Phyllis toured much of the United States behind her husband. This was a love she shared with him. She had a strong belief in sustainability and was an organic vegetable and flower gardener all her life. Phyllis enjoyed conga drumming until her health no longer let her participate in this hobby. With her husband, she cleared land and designed and built an energy efficient home. This was part of the Rocks and Trees Cooperative in Middletown Springs, Vt. Phyllis also served as president of Rocks and Trees for several years.
She is survived by her husband, Roger Pierce of Rutland, Vt.; her sister, Paulina Harward Stout of Lexington, Mass.; her nephew, Eric Stout of Lexington, Mass.; her grandniece, Shohini Stout, also of Lexington; and her niece, Alison Stout of Seattle, Wash.; and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces. She also leaves behind Vicki Saulsbury and Megan Muier who provided loving care to the end.
Instead of flowers, contributions may be made to the West Rutland Community Cupboard. A memorial service celebrating Phyllis' life will be held at the Tinmouth Community Church on December 8, 2012 at 2 p.m.
Published in Rutland Herald on Dec. 5, 2012