November 17, 1923 - October 28, 2021
The doctor told Hattie that she shouldn't expect her baby to live. She had been in labor for three days and the child was in a turned position in the birth canal. That was too much stress for any baby. When the baby finally was born, she emerged screaming – she was determined to live! Her two oldest sisters, Hester and Mary, wanted the baby to have a modern name – something different from the traditional names of her older sisters. They chose “Phyllis” - and to make it more exotic, a middle name “LaRue”. Phyllis was energetic – and noisy – from the beginning. Her Pop, Ed Klinger, was a coal miner and had to get up early to go to work. He threatened to “throw the kid out the window” if she didn't soon quiet down. Hattie tried all the usual remedies but nothing worked. Finally, in desparation, she gave baby Phyllis some coffee – she quieted down immediately. That was the beginning of a lifelong coffee drinking career! Phyllis was the youngest of seven daughters, but she only knew her two oldest sisters. The four other sisters died of various causes (appendicitis, menengitis etc.) before Phyllis was four years old. She remembered Hannah, who died at nine years old, because they shared a bed. Life for coal miners families wasn't easy, especially in the depession years following 1929. Phyllis was only six years old, but she remembered what it meant to not have enough money. She always had empathy with anyone in need, and that led to her helping many people - both while living in her home town of Williamstown, Pennsylvania and later in her subsequent home in Willingboro, New Jersey. Phyllis was the only one in the family to have a high school education. Her older sisters were 15-16 years older and grew up at a time when it was expected of children to quit school at 15 and go to work to help the family. Phyllis graduated from Wiliamstown High School in 1941 and maintained contact with many of her classmates over the years. The joint reunions (all graduating classes until the highschool was replaced by a county school) was a highlight that she never wanted to miss. When Phyllis told her Pop in November 1941 that she was going to marry Bob Davis, he cried. In those days, it was still tradition that the youngest child didn't marry and stayed with the parents and took care of them. Phyllis assured him that she could get married and still take care of her parents – and she did just that in subsequent years! Being married at that time was not easy – the second world war changed a lot of things and Phyllis was pregnant. Bob was drafted and sent to China to serve in the infantry. After the war he was in the local National Guard and then served in Korea during the war there. Phyllis was active in what would now be called “social work” - collecting items or money to help the needy, organizing plays, teaching children to swim and many other things. Phyllis moved to Willingboro, New Jersey (then called Levittown) in1960. She was delighted to have a house that had neither a celler nor an attic nor the things usually to be found in such places. Since she was a very social person, it was not long before her house became the contact center for the neighborhood. Phyllis loved parties, so every birthday, every holiday or any unusual event was a reason to have a “get together” - in the back yard in summer, in the living room in winter. It was usual to feed the birds in Willingboro – almost everyone had feeders and birdbaths in their backyards. Of course Phyllis, who loved to feed anyone or anything, fed the birds. Then she noticed that cats had come around and were eating the birds. Her solution to this problem was to feed the cats. This resulted in not only cats coming to Chez Phyllis but also opossoms, skunks, racoons and assorted others. For many years she caught cats, had them sterilized and found homes for them. Naturally, she kept some of them in her own home and there are many pictures of several generations of them. In the last decades, the previously large and varied contact circle around Phyllis schrank considerably. This is one of the major drawbacks of longevity. Few of her many friends are still alive. There are fewer reasons to have parties and fewer people to come to them. In addition, she no longer could find homes for cats with nieces, nephews,cousins, etc. of friends. In January 2018, Phyllis fell and broke her femur. She considered it to be „just a broken leg“, but the side effects were dramatic. She had hallucinations and memory problems for months (a result of anasthesia used in the operation). Physically, she recovered surprisingly quickly and her doctor cleared her to fly to Germany for a family visit. The day before her flight (in June) she fell and broke her other femur. After this, it was clear that it wasn't possible for her to continue living in her house and she moved into assisted living at the end of 2018. Again, the mental side effects were worse than the physical damage. She continued to recognize friends and family from the present time but believed that she was back in her home town in Pennsylvania and that she communicated with old friends and her sisters. The measures necessary to counter Covid 19 intensified her living in a world of mixed past and present, but she was cheerful and optimistic to the end. Phyllis L. Davis of Willingboro NJ died on October 28, 2021 shortly before her 98th birthday. at the CareOne assisted living facility in Moorestown NJ. She was the youngest of seven daughters of Ed and Hattie Klinger of Williamstown PA. Phyllis is survived by her daughter, Carol Cassidy of Berlin, Germany, her great nephew David Jenkins of Woodbury, NJ, her cherished friend and „second daughter“ Victoria Broward of Willingboro, NJ as well as many nieces and nephews throughout the US.
The doctor told Hattie that she shouldn't expect her baby to live. She had been in labor for three days and the child was in a turned position in the birth canal. That was too much stress for any baby. When the baby finally was born, she emerged... View Obituary & Service Information
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