Amherst Magazine

PHYLLIS MOFSON ’84

I write to you with great sadness to report the death of my wife, Phyllis Mofson. Phyllis died two and a half years after being diagnosed with cancer. She approached her fight against cancer with the same courage and heart that she brought to all of her endeavors in life. Unfortunately, in the end, there were no treatments that could stop the disease from overtaking her body and she succumbed to it on the evening of July 25, 2005.

Phyllis and I met about halfway through her senior year at Amherst. She came to New Hampshire with a group of other students from Amherst to volunteer on Alan Cranston’s  New Hampshire presidential primary campaign on a cold December weekend in 1983. I was working for the campaign, helping to run a door-to-door canvass. Phyllis and I met that weekend and stayed together in love and friendship until her death. (Proof, once again, that those extra curricular college activities are the most important times and ones that truly last!) We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on June 7, 2005.

In our twenty-two years together, Phyllis and I enjoyed many adventures, living in the  Washington, DC area; Mitsukaido-Shi, Japan; Key West and Tallahassee, FL; and our last five years together in Rhode Island. In that time Phyllis completed a masters degree in foreign service from GeorgetownUniv. and a PhD in International Relations from the Univ. of Maryland. She worked as a senior analyst at the US State Department in the Office of the Geographer in Washington, as an English teacher in Japan, as a reporter and yoga instructor in Key West, as a senior analyst for the Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs and the Florida Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs in Tallahassee, and as a private consultant on environmental and land use issues in Rhode Island. In all of these roles, Phyllis was recognized by her peers and colleagues for her significant intelligence, integrity and quick wit.

Our greatest adventure, which continues on, was the birth of our two boys: Eli in 1991 and Jonas in 1995. They are Phyllis’ living legacy and the focus of her greatest love and affection. They carry with them their mother’s best qualities including her strong back-bone.

After Phyllis was diagnosed with cancer and forced to stop working as a consultant, she did not allow the disease to force her into despair. Instead, she became a certified doula (a birth assistant). In the face of a life-threatening illness, Phyllis decided to spend as much time as she could participating in the most life-affirming event one can imagine: the bringing of new life into the world. As a doula, Phyllis helped several new moms and dads through the joyous moments of childbearing. She even helped one couple with the birthing of twins!

Throughout the years since graduating from Amherst, Phyllis enjoyed the close friendship and support of several classmates from Amherst, including her dearest friends and former dorm and Phillips Street roommates Arnaa Alcon ’84, Bill McCarthy ’81 and Amy (Killpatrick) Fox ’84, and friends Jeff Edelstein ’84, Beth Strauss ’84, Chris Castiglia ’83 and Chris Reed ’84. I know they all miss Phyllis as much as her family does.

—TERRY SULLIVAN

 

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