Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Park Woman Composes Her Own Obituary; Retired Schoolteacher Wins Thousands of Posthumous Friends

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Park Woman Composes Her Own Obituary; Retired Schoolteacher Wins Thousands of Posthumous Friends

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Schoettler

"It pains me to admit it, but apparently I have passed away."

Rumors of Emily Phillips' demise are true and the Orange Park grandmother and retired elementary school teacher clearly took great delight in letting the world know.

Phillips mixed heavenly humor with earthly compassion to describe the story of her life in a unique, self-written, 1,045-word obituary published in Tuesday's Times-Union and on Jacksonville.com and picked up across social media.

"Everyone told me it would happen one day, but that's simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience," Phillips continued. "Once again, I didn't get things my way! That's been the story of my life, all my life."

Phillips, 69, died March 25 of pancreatic cancer.

By Wednesday morning, her story drew nearly 3,000 "likes" on a Facebook page where the obit appeared. Scores of people also offered their kudos after reading the mix of family history, humor and fond memories.

"I don't even know her and have no chance now of meeting her, but have fallen in love with her personality just from reading her obituary!" wrote Marie Dobbs Brasseit. "Who would have ever thought you could actually write your own and write it so well!"

"Everyone should write their journey," said Mollie Gaylard. "So beautiful."

Phillips' daughter, Bonnie Upright, said she and her family were moved by the responses.

"The messages I've received from complete strangers, hearing how impactful her words were, is the greatest gift my mother could have left us," said Upright, 45, a public relations professional who lives in Orange Park.

Phillips' husband of 47 years, Charles Phillips of Orange Park, her son, Scott Phillips of Nashville, Tenn., and five grandchildren are among her other survivors.

Upright said after her mother was diagnosed with cancer in February, she told her family that she'd intended to pen her own obituary. Upright said she didn't want to read or hear about it immediately, but did so when her mother went over it from her hospice bed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.