MARILYN LEVERETT ‘TOOTSIE’ PHILLIPS, a resident of Twin Lakes Retirement Community, Burlington, NC, died peacefully in her sleep on Dec. 19, 2019. She was with her family until her death early in the morning.
Born in Birmingham on Aug. 5, 1932, Marilyn was the daughter of the late Myrtle Lou Kennedy and Talmadge DeWit Leverett. Marilyn was predeceased by her sisters Cathryn, Evelyn, and Polly, and her brother James.
Marilyn experienced significant losses early in her life, presenting her with challenges she worked to overcome. She was left without parents in her early teens. Marilyn and her younger sister were given a place to live in the Oneonta bus station in return for working early mornings and late evenings before and after school. There was a small barber shop in the bus station run by one of the nine Phillips brothers. It was here that Marilyn met the youngest Phillips boy named Welton.
Marilyn and Welton were married Dec. 22, 1951. Welton’s military career in the Air Force took the family, which also included their daughter Andree, around the world and the United States. Marilyn embraced this lifestyle making new friends at each location. She found employment as the family traveled around, often at military schools and banks. Her banking career started her passion for collecting coins. It is during this time Marilyn started sewing, making many of her and Andree’s clothes.
Marilyn and Welton’s retirement gave them the time to make numerous driving trips around the United States. They would load their minivan and be gone for up to six weeks. These trips took them throughout the lower 48 states. Marilyn enjoyed a variety of crafts; she created many beautiful quilts, Christmas ornaments, and decorative ceramics. She was known for her baking, feeding friends and family. Marilyn stayed in touch with the many military wives she met through the years. She also stayed in touch with all her high school classmates and attended many reunions.
Marilyn will be remembered for her overwhelming kindness, her curiosity about everything, her willingness to help others, her love of People magazine and all things related to pop culture, and her love for music. Her spirit was strong and beautiful and she always had a sparkle in her eyes and a warm hug to give. Marilyn liked to get to know everyone and had the ability to talk with anyone about anything.
Marilyn is survived by her loving husband Welton Phillips of Twin Lakes Retirement Community, and dedicated daughter Andree Phillips Woosley and beloved son-in-law John Woosley of Chapel Hill, NC. In addition, she will be missed by her surrogate daughter and son-in-law, Celia Sandford and Steve Perrin, good friends of Andree and John.
The family would like to thank the entire Twin Lakes Retirement Community. Marilyn and Welton loved living on Wesley Court for almost 10 years, close to many good friends. Special thanks are given to the Orchard nursing and support staff for their loving care during Marilyn’s last six months. The family also thanks Hospice of Alamance County for helping Marilyn in her struggle with lung cancer.
A celebration of life service will be held in the spring. Memorial contributions can be made to the Twin Lakes Residents Assistance Fund, 3701 Wade Coble Drive, Burlington NC 27215 or Hospice of Alamance-Caswell County, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington NC 27215.
-obituary written by family