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Phyllis J. Phipps

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Phyllis J. Phipps

Phyllis J. Phipps, who founded and opened the The Yarb Patch in the 1960s, died at TMH on Sunday, October 20. She was 77.

Shortly after moving to Tallahassee, she began experimenting with growing herbs on the Phipps property on Lake Hall, despite warnings from some that the North Florida climate was too humid and hot. She worked with botanists from the University of Florida and the American Herb Society, and was eventually able to grow and propagate scores of varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs. She blended the herbs into bouquet garni, cashbows, and wreaths and marketed them under the brand name, The Yarb Patch. In the early 1970s, she added a broad range of culinary products and opened her first shop. By 1980, she had three retail outlets in Governor's Square, Carriage Gate, as well as the original shop at Jubilee on Lake Hall.

In 1979, she contracted breast cancer and her aggressive treatment would not permit continuing the operation of three retail outlets and a substantial mail order business. She turned to cooking; she was the hors d'oeuvres chef at the Governor's Club, conducted cooking classes, and operated a catering business, PJ's Pastymes.

Phyllis Jarrett Anderson grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. She was the daughter of a naturalized Scot and old Pennsylvania Deutsch stock. She attended the prestigious Pierre S. Du Pont High School and the University of Delaware. In 1962, she married Army officer Ben Phipps and eventually accompanied him to Fort Stewart, Georgia, and when he left the Army in 1964, to Tallahassee.

She was active in LeMoyne and served on its Board. She was one of the two State Life Members of Violet Garden Circle. She is survived by her husband, Ben Phipps, and daughter, Jarrett (Harry Roark James). Her other daughter, Christina (Lt. Gregory Crum, USN) died in 2010.

The immediate cause of death was complications from orthopedic surgery. But ultimately, the long term effects of her breast cancer treatments had weakened her heart and her bones. For 30 years she had numerous surgeries and complications which she endured with remarkable courage and grace.

Private services are planned. Gifts in memory of Phyllis, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Christina Phipps Foundation, P.O. Box 1351, Tallahassee, Florida 32302.

Published in Tallahassee Democrat from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26, 2013
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