Emily DeBrayda PHILLIPS
PHILLIPS It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that's simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again I didn't get things my way! That's been the story of my life all my life.
And while on that subject (the story of my life)…on February 9, 1946 my parents and older sister celebrated my birth and I was introduced to all as Emily DeBrayda Fisher, the daughter of Clyde and Mary Fisher from Hazelwood. I can't believe that happened in the first half of the last century but there are records on file in the Court House which can corroborate this claim. Just two years later when another baby girl was born, I became known as the middle sister of the infamous three Fisher Girls, and the world was changed forever.
As a child I walked to the old Hazelwood Elementary School where teachers like Mrs. McCracken, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Moody planted the seed that eventually led me to becoming a teacher. I proudly started my teaching career at that same elementary school in January 1968, and from there I went on to teach young children in the neighboring states of Virginia, Georgia, as well as Florida where I retired after 25 years.
So many things in my life seemed of little significance at the time they happened but then took on a greater importance as I got older. The memories I'm taking with me now are so precious and have more value than all the gold and silver in my jewelry box.
Memories…where do I begin? Well, I remember Mother wearing an apron; I remember Daddy calling Square Dances; I remember my older sister pushing me off my tricycle (on the cinder driveway); I remember my younger sister sleep walking out of the house; I remember grandmother Nonnie who sewed exquisite dresses for me when I was little; I remember grandmother Mamateate wringing a chicken's neck so we could have Sunday dinner. I remember being the bride in our Tom Thumb Wedding in first grade and performing skits for the 4-H Club later in grade five. I remember cutting small rosebuds still wet with dew to wear to school on spring mornings, and I remember the smell of newly mowed grass. I remember the thrill of leading our high school band down King Street in New Orleans for Mardi Gras (I was head majorette). I remember representing Waynesville in the Miss North Carolina Pageant, and yes, I twirled my baton to the tune of ""Dixie"". It could have been no other way.
I married the man of my dreams (tall, dark, and handsome) on December 16, 1967 and from that day on I was proud to be Mrs. Charlie Phillips, Grand Diva Of All Things Domestic. Our plan was to have two children, a girl and a boy. Inexplicably we were successful in doing exactly that when we were blessed with our daughter Bonnie and then later our son Scott. Seeing these two grow into who they were supposed to be brought a wonderful sense of meaning to our lives.
This might be a good time to mend fences.
I apologize for making sweet Bonnie wear No Frills jeans when she was little and for ""red-shirting"" Scott in kindergarten. Apparently each of these things was humiliating to them but both were able to rise above their shame and become very successful adults. I'd also like to apologize to Mary Ann for tearing up her paper dolls and to Betsy for dating a guy she had a crush on.
Just when I thought I was too old to fall in love again, I became a grandmother, and my five grand-angels stole not only my heart, but also spent most of my money.
Sydney Elizabeth, Jacob McKay, and Emma Grace (all Uprights) have enriched my life more than words can say. Sydney's ""one more, no more"" when she asked for a cookie; Jake saying he was ""sick as a cat"" when I'd said that someone else was sick as a dog; and Emma cutting her beautiful long hair and then proceeding to shave off one of her eyebrows…Yes, these are a few of my favorite things. They're treasures that are irreplaceable and will go with me wherever my journey takes me.
I've always maintained that my greatest treasures call me Nana. That's not exactly true. You see, the youngest of my grand-angels, William Fisher Phillips and Charlie Jackson Phillips call me ""Nana Banana"". (Thank you Chris and Scott for having such spunky children.) These two are also apt to insist that I ""get their hiney"" whenever I visit, and since I'm quite skilled in that area , I've always been able to oblige. (I actually hold the World's Record for ""Hiney Getting,"" a title that I wear with pride.)
Speaking of titles…I've held a few in my day. I've been a devoted daughter, an energetic teenager, a WCU graduate (summa cum laude), a loving wife, a comforting mother, a dedicated teacher, a true and loyal friend, and a spoiling grandmother. And if you don't believe it, just ask me. Oh wait, I'm afraid it's too late for questions. Sorry.
So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor.
But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?
So in the end, remember…do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.
If you want to, you can look for me in the evening sunset or with the earliest spring daffodils or amongst the flitting and fluttering butterflies. You know I'll be there in one form or another. Of course that will probably comfort some while antagonizing others, but you know me…it's what I do.
I'll leave you with this…please don't cry because I'm gone; instead be happy that I was here. (Or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away).
Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably naked.
Love you forever.
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Published by Florida Times-Union on Mar. 31, 2015.
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5437 Entries
I came across Mrs. Phillip´s obituary by accident, too, or was it an accident? She brought a big smile to my face that I needed! Wish I had known this wonderful daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, friend, and "hiney getter"! She was truly a blessing to those who crossed her path! As I said, wish I would have been one of them! God Bless You, Mrs. Phillips.
Patsy Walls
September 2, 2021
I am a Canadian from Nova Scotia.After reading these inspiring words,I wish I could have been your friend.Although I already feel that I have known you and your incredible spirit which lives on long after you are gone.These are truly words to live buy.Sincere condolences to your wonderful family and friends.Rest in peace,Emily
Marie Young
April 30, 2021
You were lucky to have crossed paths with this wonderful lady. So sorry for your loss, but the memories she left you is priceless. Prayers for you all.

Evelyn Dolif
Pueblo, Colorado
April 26, 2020
I loved her when I read it couple yrs ago and more now!
March 26, 2020
We could all learn from Emily's obituary with its humor, wit & life's valuable lessons. Don't take life so seriously, take the time to stop and smell your roses and please don't blink too quickly. Sending best wishes to all of Emily's family & heartfelt prayers that her precious memories have given you much peace.
Frances Hager
March 25, 2020
So...I was born; I blinked; and it was over"

Ain't it the truth. God bless you Emily.
And yes, I did cry a little bit when I read your wonderful story.
July 30, 2019
Prayers and love
Bert Druckenbroad
June 26, 2019
RIP, thanks for making me laugh and shedding a tear in the same breath.
Willie Stephens
June 25, 2019
RIP, thanks for making me laugh and shedding a test in the same breath.
Willie Stephens
June 25, 2019
Once again, reading Emily's orbitrary brings tears to my eyes, due to the beauty and the wisdom in the words from someone I've not actually met. I will just once again say that as well as being a blessing for her family and loved ones, she has been a true gift to this world and beyond.
Bo Michael Hansen
March 26, 2019
I'm back again. I visited years ago but received an email and thought I would read Miss Emily's words again. I didn't know her but I wish I did! God Bless her family!
Louise Richardson
March 25, 2019
Saw this on a deer processor's facebook page (of all places, right?). Never saw this lady, never knew her. Seems like it'd have been nice to. She sounds like she left one heck of a family behind. Good for her. Good for them that they had her.

I hope she's enjoying those flowers =)
October 26, 2018
Not sure how I got to this page (Facebook)...its raining outside ... trolling through friends pages and I found this lovely woman...this lovely lovely woman; who I am positive brought great joy to those she knew. She brought a huge smile to me on this rainy day.
September 11, 2018
What a beautiful life to have lived, and what a beautiful lady! Fly High Ms. Emily
Bonnie Whipple-Ashmore
April 29, 2018
M Suarez
March 30, 2018
What an amazing woman you must have been. How truly fortunate your family and friends were to have you in their life. I'm sure they will love you, remember you, and miss you forever. I envy you for being much more successful at this thing called life than I will ever be.
Marci S
March 30, 2018
Thank you. This inspired me in so many ways.
Dominique Hopson
November 17, 2017
I did not know Emily but she sounds like an amazing woman. I love her spunk and her spin on life. She sounds like a treasure. I pray for you all on the loss of this beautiful soul. May God bless you and comfort each of you. Remember this hiney getter loved you all very much.
Hope Abshire
November 15, 2017
DearEmily.As I live in Japan,I also found your self-written obituary by accidents.
You lived wonderful life and you surely was a wonderful woman.You left light in me,a total stranger.
My heartfelt condolences to her family for losing such a wonderful person.
And May her Rest I peace.
Kaori Otani
November 2, 2017
I found this by accident too. But boy am I glad I did. Look forward to seeing her one day. She made me smile, laugh and cry.
Mary Jones
October 18, 2017
I just happen to run across Mrs. Phillips obituary and although I never knew her I feel like she summed up her life with great detail and humor. She sure sounded like quite a lady. I can tell she made quite an impact on the lives she touched. To those who knew her as a wife, mother, Nana, Sister,daughter, aunt, teacher and any other title I may have missed may you cherish the memories you share of her. May the God of all comfort give you peace as you remember your loved one.

M. Briggins, Illinois
October 4, 2017
My condolences to the family. I just read this obit on Twitter. She must have been quite the lady. I wish I had known her.
Mickey Gay
August 16, 2017
You were blessed to have this amazing woman in your life to love for as long as God allowed, and she will inspire many to do what they can to love and be loved in the short time we have here. She had a way to make death not so scary sounding. She made me believe she is truly resting in peace. I can't help but feel for her grandkids though. Not everyone has a Nana that is what Nanas are meant to be and I am sure they wanted her a bit longer. Blessings to your family's future.
Jennifer Talbot
June 29, 2017
Sorry for ur loss she seems beautiful
Amanda Ivey
June 4, 2017
I stumbled upon this awe-inspiring obituary quite by accident and am so glad that i did. Emily's words and life are inspirational, heartwarming and humorous and though i didn't know her i'm sure i would have loved her too. Her family was blessed in many ways and i pray that mine feel as blessed when i die... though i will not be writing my own obituary. She truly was a beautiful soul. and she has left you with many precious memories. God bless each and every one of you in life. RIP Emily.
Frances Hager
May 5, 2017
Hi! Just read this. The last line is truly awesome, dont cry because I'm gone, but be glad because I was here. Like that perspective. Best eulogy ive ever read!
Mary Bryant
April 8, 2017
Hi Miss Em,
I just know you are reading everyone of these post. Your words made me laugh, cry and inspired!! You will be read for many years to come. And loving remarks posted probably forever. What a joy it was to see just a sliver of your life. How painful it must have been for your family to loose you. God Bless you and your beautiful family you left behind. ps. I would have made you one of my best friends!! Don't be surprised if you here from me again.
Carol Gruwell
April 3, 2017
It was beautifull to read May she rest in Peace.

With warm regards.
Henny van Beek in the Netherlands
henny van Beek
April 1, 2017
This really touched me. Your Mom sounds like a most loving and fun Mom. My condolences to you and your family. I am sure she is smiling and laughing at the things she sees your children doing. Look up, smile, dance and keep loving her. God Bless
Beverly Casper North Carolina
Beverly Casper
March 29, 2017
What an amazing lady who really loved her family. I am so glad she left something behind for them.

Judy Jarrell
March 28, 2017
Thank You Emily for sharing. It delivered this complete stranger some internal peace with big smiles and tiny tears of emotion. R.I.P. MISS EM!
Kristi Kennedy
March 28, 2017
You seem like you were an Amazing Woman.......RIP
Emily Debrayda Phillips <3 You were so blessed and so was your family and friends <3 God Bless *smie*
Kat Beverly
March 28, 2017
RIPP Emily I am sure you are:) I didn't know you are your family but wants to say hi and hope I am as good of friend and nana as your mom was...I sure am trying hard to be the best I can be.......from a unknow nana in Indianawho just turned 70
March 28, 2017
she sounds like a real sweet woman you wear all blessed god bless
March 28, 2017
I think I saw Emily flying with a couple of Humming Birds...... Spread your wings girl and fly.... Robert Montgomery. Gainesville Fl....
Robert Montgomery
March 28, 2017
First I am sorry for your loss and I am praying for y'all.
Your Mother seemed like a wonderful and fun lady. She was so Blessed. Her Obituary made me laugh and cry. How wonderful, she lived such a great life. God Bless all.
Carol Chapuis
March 27, 2017
My sincerest condolences to your family. Thank you so much for the honor of sharing this lovely experience. Blessings.
Cheryl Butkus
March 27, 2017
You Mrs. Emily DeBrayda Phillips had a wonderful life. Happy your daughter chose your obituary, rather than one she might have written, and was willing to share. You have found your place in Heaven.
Martha Butts
March 24, 2017
Mrs. Emily DeBrayda Phillips obituary brought tears to my eyes, sadness to my heart, and overwhelming joy, with more tears of laughter, for my body and soul. Her unique style of writing her life story, is heartwarming, in addition to the love she had for her,
" Family and Friends"

May The Lord Jesus, along with our Blessed Mother Mary
nurture her soul in heaven, and provide love and comfort to everyone grieving the loss of Mrs. Phillips.

Rest In Peace Dear Woman.
T. Declan- McNamee
March 18, 2017
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you for sharing such a hopeful, beautiful, hilarious, poignant, Loving tribute to how immensely grateful she was for her life.
Kat S
March 17, 2017
That is about the most awesome obit ever. Glad you could share your joy of life.
Dane Hawk
March 17, 2017
This really touched my heart. It was nice to hear your story Emily <3
Danielle Marino
February 17, 2017
Thank you Lady! A life well lived. We don't know each other, except for being fellow Floridians and I found your message 2-17-2017 on facebook. May your family hear and live your message... Much blessings Barbara G, Miami, FL
Barbara Grant
February 17, 2017
That was beautiful. A life well lived. No buildings or monuments named for you, but you certainly did do incredible things. You are surely missed by all who knew you.
February 10, 2017
That is the most beautiful obituary I have ever heard. My condolences but it was a life well lived appreciated.
January 30, 2017
I hope you are resting in the arms of the angels. Your love and spirit has spread and touched more people than you could have known. It is a blessing to me to know that you lived and loved as you did. May God bless your family for generations to come. Thank you for sharing this special gift
Marion Prusher
January 30, 2017
For Emily
Carla Mae Sanders
December 28, 2016
I stumbled upon this by chance and I am so glad that I did. My children and I just finished reading this beautiful story of your life...I am a crumpled ball of tears and I cant thank you enough for your words. You were without a doubt a deeply beautiful person. The world is a better place because you were in it.

Love, The Sanders Family in Oregon
Carla Mae Sanders
December 28, 2016
Wow Emily, you were an awesome person...I enjoyed so much reading about your life though I am in tears. What a joy it must have been to have you as a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. My prayers for your family and friends. I wish I could have known you.
Cara Ryckman
December 6, 2016
Emily , you sound as if you were really amazing! You had such a good sense of humor! I to am sorry I never got the chance to met you! Bless you honey and fly high with the Angels! May you be blessed in heaven!
December 5, 2016
This is a woman that II would have liked to call my friend. Sorry that I never had the opportunity to know you...
Dean Jorgensen
December 5, 2016
I stumbled across this on Facebook and I hope you don't mind me sending this. Wow! What an amazing woman. She must have been amazing to know as well! I am so sorry for your loss. You have my condolences. God Bless you and your family.
Jessica Lachney
December 5, 2016
Charlotte Mandle
December 5, 2016
Dear Emily, your beauty and spirit will be remembered forever....I wish I knew you. God Bless you and the Angels surrounding you. Fondly, Barbara Alihosseini, Boston.
Barbara Alihosseini
November 19, 2016
Words cannot express what a great epitaph this lady wrote. It's perfect.
Thank you for sharing with great wit and verve your life's message.
Great Story
October 29, 2016
Gosh, Emily's story brought me to tears. Her passion for life came through just as she meant it to.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful lady with the world. I will keep her words close to my heart as I walk through my own journey. She will continue to inspire us all for years and years to come. May God continue to bless you all and may Emily rest in peace as she makes our angels laugh in heaven with her amazing sense of humor and grace. God Bless you all.
Thalia Baillo
October 29, 2016
That was... Is the most precious reading ever! I was poking around the internet in regards to a couple who was married 82 years... After reading about them, I got nosy and venture off to looking at other things and came across this headline. What a treasurer to behold! I don't know your mom, but she left words to make me feel as though I knew her. God bless you all. Thank you for sharing this.
Deborah Brookins
October 26, 2016
I didn't know this family but I have to say they all are smiling. I smiled and cryed while read the hole story. I'm sorry for your loss. But I think I'm going to do this when it's my time. God bless you all.
LeAnn LeMay
October 19, 2016
Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of your family with all of us. What a very sweet daughter, sister, friend, mother, and grandmother she is. May you be blessed and find happiness in that she has given all of us such beautiful perspective for our own lives. She has made the world that much sweeter. Warm regards.
October 18, 2016
This is absolutely wonderful and uplifting. What a wonderful woman and what a great legacy.
October 17, 2016
I never met you, but your obituary sounds like we would have been the best of friends..
October 17, 2016
Such a touching obituary. Made me saddened but to know she is dancong in the heavens made me happy xx RIP lovely lady.
Meg Pettitt
October 17, 2016
My deepest condolences to all the family!I pray for strength and peace! As I read what she wrote I feel she was a wonderful person! A great woman! Great wife! Great mom and amazing grandmother! And a wonderful friend! And obviously a very very happy happy person! God bless you all.Sincerely Annie R SolaresLong Beach California.
Ana Solares
October 17, 2016
Didn't get the opportunity to make your amazing mother. But reading what she wrote made me feel like I was part of her life.... I lost my mother at a very young age so I kno how u feel but even with tears in my eyes as I read it I cried with a smile... my censerest condolences to u and your family
Tony Collazo
October 16, 2016
I didn't know you Emily but I wish I had. I hope to live my life with as much love.
Sarah Whaley
October 16, 2016
My condolences to the family of Emily. What an amazing person to remember. Thank you for publishing this obituary and sharing. Reading this has uplifted my life
October 16, 2016
My heart is warm. Simply beautiful.
October 16, 2016
What an amazing, brave, unique soul. RIP... My condolences to the family and friends... God bless you all ❤
Margherita Cardone
October 16, 2016
Truly inspiring...thanks Emily! From the beautiful heavens above, I hope you realize the powerful impact of your words...reminders to make the best of each day, each step of our lives...on complete strangers. I did not know you but, when I see the sun set or watch butterflies in their grace, I will remember to smile.
Regina Campbell
October 16, 2016
Well I just read your wife's, mom's,nanas,nana banana, Obit and it's amazing hope I and others have will have enough wit's to plan their story before they go.Thank you and blessings to youSincerely and blessingsRuth Fraga
Ruth Fraga
October 16, 2016
Oh my what a wonderful women she was. I wish I would have had the pleasure of knowing her...Rest In Peace.
October 16, 2016
What a thrill and honor to have this extraordinary woman in your life. As she said cry a few tears and then celebrate her life. I can only hope I was this loved in my life.
Lois Fetzer
October 16, 2016
I bet she had no idea so many would be reading her life story. She sounds like an amazing lady. Thank you for sharing and prayers for her family
Carol Collins
October 16, 2016
What a wonderful gift she left you all...treasure it always. RIP Emily....prayers to family and friends....I didn't know her but she has now entered my life.....
Annette Essman
October 16, 2016
Very touching...
Carrie Francis
October 16, 2016
Pedro Sosa
October 15, 2016
Sounds like an amazing lady
Jeanne Schuth
October 14, 2016
I love this so much and it's inspired me to write one of my own 'My condolences go out to your family
Esmeralda M
October 14, 2016
Such a heart felt message from a great and loving lady. May she rest in peace...family is in my prayers.
Sheric Price
October 14, 2016
I don't know anyone of these wonderful people. But I will say this, the obituary for this woman was amazing to read. It was uplifting even though it comes at a sad moment in life. I myself lost my mother to cancer all to quick. But spent everyday with her that I could. God bless this family at their time n may they see the sun shine down on them. Sorry for the loss or your mother, grandmother n so on.
Jessica Ressel
October 14, 2016
Such a beautiful soul. An amazing story of real genuine individual's love for life and her family.
Truly an insperation. Dream in color Emily!! You have painted a spectacular photo. One of a kind.
Diana Reyes
October 14, 2016
Reading through this & wondering how one person can write so little and yet be so vividly present all whilst never actually meeting her!

She sounds like she was an amazing woman through and through, may the butterflies fly. ❤
Rest in peace.
Hattie R
October 13, 2016
I have never met this woman, which is clearly my loss. She sounds like a woman who loved unconditionally--family, career, friends and life in general. To her family, while hard, I can only imagine the stories you could share! You were blessed to have her in your life for as long as the good Lord allowed. I have no doubt she will forever be watching over you all. God bless Emily and her family. Thank you for sharing this small part of her!
October 13, 2016
Wow! What and awesome story Thank you for making this available I blessed my heart. I'm sorry for your loss. Sincerely, Bvelez -IL
October 13, 2016
R.i.p.emily and prayers for your family
Paquita Martinez
October 13, 2016
How lucky the family and friends were to have had this woman in their lives. They were loved. May she rest in peace.
Nancy Yotz
October 13, 2016
This is truly beautiful and as i started to read. I thought she reminds me of my mother. My mother was born February 9,1951. Imagine that. Just a day for angels to be born.
Tajuana Bates
October 13, 2016
I could feel her spunk , love and energy. What a blessing it must have been to know this woman! I pray peace surround her family and beautiful sunsets for them to smile at !!!!
October 13, 2016
Oh man. Emily seemed like such a happy and hilarious person to be around. ♡
All of her family are blessed to have been able to know her and make memories with her.
Rest in peace, beautiful ♡♡♡
Jocelyn Espinoza
October 13, 2016
Wow, she is just a beautiful lady inside and outside. May she rest in eternal peace in heaven with our Heavenly Father.
October 13, 2016
I came across this story on Facebook and she definitely was a spunky, humorous, lovely woman! This made me smile and I'm sure it made her family also, even in the sad time. My condolences to you but I hope you are able to see her in the sunsets and the rainbows!
October 13, 2016
Thanks for
sharing , that was so beautiful
Jean Summers
October 13, 2016
Wow how touching and what a beautiful memory to leave her family ☺

Perth Australia
Sharon Todd
October 12, 2016
May she live in your hearts forever!!my deepest sympathy to all the family!
Brenda Fisher
October 12, 2016
What an amazing lady. She must have been a joy to be with.
Jenny McNamara
October 12, 2016
I love this...such a beautiful lady,inside and out.
Tara Bettelyoun
October 12, 2016
She must have been such an amazing women she took her memories with her but left so many memories here on earth you are all in my thoughts losing someone is never easy on those left behind but the memories you have are priceless and will remain till you meet again thank you for sharing this with the world it was a blessing to me so thank you
October 12, 2016
October 12, 2016
What a wonderful and blessed life, She lived. Heaven has another Angel. Sincerest condolences to the family. Respectfully.
October 12, 2016
I am very sorry. May she rest in heaven with her king and Father.
Laney Jordan
October 12, 2016
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