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Phyllis Whitman

1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Phyllis Whitman Obituary
Phyllis Glasener Whitman, a Lexington resident for over 58 years, died at 12:30 AM, Monday, December 11th, 2017 at Care One at Lexington, where she had lived since February 2016. She was predeceased in 1978 by her husband Allen Lee Whitman, Jr., known as Lee, an electrical engineer at Honeywell, 1953 Harvard B.S., and an active Lexington Town Meeting Member for Precinct 7 for many years. A memorial service will be held for her at First Parish in Lexington, Saturday, March 24th, 2018 at 1 PM. She was born Phyllis Emma Glasener in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 11th, 1921, the only child of Vance Clarence Glasener (of Ohio) and Ada Conyers Glasener (of Massachusetts). Born a year after women won the vote in the United States, Phyllis lived through the Great Depression, World War Two, and the terms of 17 presidents. As a child, she enjoyed a Saturday morning art class at the Rhode Island School of Design where she got her first taste of set and costume design for performing arts. She also studied ballet and danced en pointe. She later became a devout opera fan, listening avidly to opera on the radio, which led to her studying voice as an adult. As a young adult, Phyllis studied at Rhode Island Teachers College. In the 1940s she served as a Specialist 3rd Class in the Waves division of the U.S. Navy, with an honorable discharge in 1946. She served in the Bronx and in Washington D.C. After WWII she earned her BA at Reed College in Portland, Oregon; also a degree in voice from the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC); and a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College. She befriended Coretta Scott (later Coretta Scott King) at the NEC and they corresponded over the Summer between academic years. Phyllis married Lee Whitman at the M.I.T. Chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 14, 1957. She lived on Turning Mill Road for all but two of her years in Lexington, was politically active, and took her right to vote seriously. She participated in peace marches in the 1970s including John Kerrys Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) on Bunker Hill, with her family. Phyllis was a lifelong Democrat. She was a member of First Parish in Lexington for about 55 years, attending regularly and participating actively. During her life, she sang in the church choir, often as an alto or mezzo soprano soloist, and also taught voice; worked in several libraries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; and wrote poetry and childrens stories. She also wrote occasional pieces for the Lexington Minuteman. She loved art and literature, and valued a well-rounded education and ethics in government. In the 1970s, she and Lee served on the CCLPS, Citizens Concerned for Lexington Public Schools. Phyllis is survived by her only child, Susanna Whitman, Susannas husband Jonathan Kinghorn, and their 3 children, Phylliss grandchildren, David, Liz and Jeremy Whitman-Kinghorn. The family lives in Lexington.
Published in The Lexington Minuteman from Feb. 13 to Feb. 21, 2018
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