Folsom Funeral Service

Phillips, Marion

Phillips, Marion


Marion Grumman Phillips, 91, died on Tuesday May 14, 2013. She was a painter, a poet, an aviator, a genealogist, an author, and a talented mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  She and her husband, Ellis L. Phillips, Jr., met at flying school on Long Island in 1940. They commuted between Princeton University and Mount Holyoke College via a jointly owned small plane, the “Philgrum.” When World War II broke out, they decided to marry immediately after Ellis’ June, 1942 graduation, and spent their first year of married life at various Army officers’ training camps before his unit was sent overseas. He served in the 8th Army Air force stationed in High Wycombe, England. Marion returned to New York, where her first child, Valerie, was born. After the war, there came Elise, Larry, Noel, and Cindy. Despite all the duties involved in homemaking for five children and being a law professor’s wife, Marion continued her poetry and her painting, mostly watercolors, and completed her B.A. at Adelphi College.  Marion’s annual Christmas poems (and many others) are still treasured by her friends and family. The couple were active members of the Congregational Church in Manhasset. In 1957 Ellis was invited to join Ambassador John Hay Whitney at the American Embassy in London as Special Assistant, and Marion became a diplomat’s wife while juggling one baby still in diapers plus several older children in their English school uniforms. After returning from England, the Phillips family lived for another decade on Long Island, attending St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor. They spent summers on their island in Moosehead Lake, Marion’s favorite place. In 1970 Ellis took up a new post as President of Ithaca College in upstate New York. In 1976 the couple moved to “Point of View,” a house Marion designed to be ideal for family gatherings, in Sharon, Vermont. Marion published several books and completed the family genealogies of Werthers, Sissons, Phillipses, and Grummans. She convinced Richard Thruelsen to write The Grumman Story (1976), about her father and his company.  After Ellis suffered a stroke in 1993, they moved to Fox Hill Village in Westwood, Massachusetts, where Ellis lived until his death in 2006 and where Marion lived until her death from pulmonary emboli this month. She is survived by a sister, Florence Hold, and a brother, David Leroy Grumman; her five children: Valerie Parsegian, Elise Watts, Ellis L. Phillips, III (Larry), Kathryn Noel Phillips, and Cynthia Prosser; nine grandchildren: Andrew Parsegian, Homer Parsegian, Hardy Watts, Christopher Watts, Hilary Wieczorek, Aram Parsegian, Nicholas Zimmermann, Martin Zimmermann, and Sarah Prosser; and five great-grandchildren, Seth Parsegian, Hardy Watts, Jr., Benjamin Ellis Parsegian, Macy Watts, and Burke Watts. All her descendants were present when she attended her granddaughter’s wedding in April, where she was in great form. The accompanying photo was taken at that wedding.  A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Dedham, Massachusetts.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Sandy Gordon, MD
    May 24th, 2013 | 12:33 pm

    Great write-up for a very Grand Madame. What an incredibly productive and creative life. We sure did look forward to the eloquent verse of her Christmas card. My favorite book written by Marion: Doctors Make Me Sick!

  2. June 2nd, 2013 | 6:59 pm

    I was glad to learn so much about my friend Valerie’s mother.
    What a talented lady she was!

  3. Betsy Franklin Kirby Doty
    June 3rd, 2013 | 11:34 pm

    Extraordinary Lady. Accomplished poet. We waited for the Christmas cards each year. We’ll miss you, Tink. Betsy Franklin Kirby Doty(childhood friend)

  4. Harold Whitson
    June 7th, 2013 | 9:14 am

    Marion was a great lady; she and Ellis were amongst our fondest friends. I shall never forget their great kindness and many happy times we spent in their company in the States and here [in Scotland]. I will miss her, clearly, but it’s good to know she will not suffer more pain and age will not weary her anymore.


    Harold Whitson

  5. Glen Johnson
    June 15th, 2013 | 2:57 pm

    Goodbye, Marion. Thank you for spending the day several years ago with friends on Moosehead Lake (also my favorite place). DeDe and Allan Titcomb hosted a beautiful luncheon at their home, Masterman Farm. You delighted everyone, especially me, with Grumman and Moosehead stories that included your family, your parents and many friends.

    As it turned out, we shared not only the love of life in the islands at Moosehead, but history, and flying Grumman aircraft. My Goose took me to Hyde Island for many seasons, and the chance to share some Grumman family history was a special treat.

    I know you will be welcomed by many friends and family waiting for you in the next journey.

    All the best to your family and may they find the comfort necessary at this time of the end of your blessed journey.

    July 16th, 2013 | 3:58 pm

    I just learned from her daughter Val, my classmate from EW and friend, of Marion’s death.
    She was indeed a grand dame and had an incredible zest for life as well as a fantastic
    sense of humor. When Val invited me to their home on Long Island way back in l960,
    i was very impressed with Marion’s collection of “PRESTIGE” Match books. She not
    only gave me some, but then when I married in l965 she sent me a lighter from
    Tiffany’s. Now all of that is’politically incorrect’ but how perfect as a gift from a
    woman who did not give a second’s thought to what was proper. Ialso happen to know
    that when Ellis was courting Marion, he would send her a list of vocabulary words
    to learn -these were on note cards which she was to commit to memory! And did.
    I’m ;probably the only living person who can remember this kind of trivia, but how
    generous Marion was to have shared it with me, when I was just l6 years old! S he
    will be missed BUT never forgotten

  7. lawrence p davis
    August 6th, 2013 | 1:15 pm

    I feel at a great loss not getting to meet in person. I know we will meet in a much greater place. If anyone reads this and can get in contact with me I would love to find more information on my grandfather Charles Scudder Grumman. My mother was his daughter Virginia Adele Grumman. I can be reached at ( 941-812-0757 ) My Condolences for your loss.

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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service