She was born on July 27, 1941 in Waterbury, CT, the daughter of the late Dorothy E. and William Higginston. Phyllis was known for her big, welcoming smile and her kind, inspiring words to whomever might cross her path. She graduated from Southington High School in Southington, CT, as a member of the class of 1959. She also graduated from Greenfield Community College with an Associate Degree in Management and remained an advocate for GCC. She then went on to get her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from North Adams State College.
She began her career in the Purchasing Department of Connecticut Light & Power in Berlin, CT in 1960. She went on to work at The Northfield Mountain Recreation Center doing energy tours and lectures, a legacy her daughter, Valerie Magoon, would continue. In 1991, after starting her career as a secretary, Phyllis was named Manager of District Business Services at Western Massachusetts Electric Company. Three years later she was promoted to Hadley General Manager and then three years after that, in 1997, she was promoted again to Springfield General Manager. In 2003, she was promoted yet again to The Director of External Relations at Western Massachusetts Electric Company, a position she would retire from in 2006, after 46 years of service with the company.
Throughout her career she served on many boards, such as the Finance Board in Gill, the Board of Directors for the Pioneer Valley County League, the Board of Incorporators for the United Way of Franklin County, the Regional Employment Board of Hamden County, and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. She was a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Greenfield Community College Foundation, the Connecticut River Watershed Council State Advisory Committee, and the Franklin/Hampshire Private Industry Council Regional Employment Board. She won many awards throughout her 46 year career, namely the honorable “Year 2000 Businesswoman of Distinction Award” from the Pioneer Valley Girl Scout Council. She was, however, most proud of her “2001 Parent of the Year Award” from Salve Regina University, which honored her unparalleled commitment to her daughter, Valerie.
She is survived by her daughter and best friend, Valerie Magoon of Gill, her grand-dog, Notorious, and her two grand-horses, Pistol and Cash as well as her sister Maureen DeBishop, Maureen’s husband Robert DeBishop, and two nieces, Karen DeBishop and Susan Kloss, all of CT. She is also survived by her two horses whom she loved, cherished and doted on daily- Daisy May and Mr. “Bo” Bojangles.
Phyllis will be remembered by her many friends and associates as a good listener, always eager to offer a pearl of wisdom. She was a true trailblazer, never willing to take no for an answer, always forging ahead with vim and vigor. She loved animals even more than people and especially cherished her time with her grand-dog Notorious as well as with her horses Daisy and Bo. She will be missed beyond measure.
Kostanski Funeral home is handling the arrangements. Flowers in bright, happy colors are requested, she loved yellow.
Funeral services will be held Saturday 2-25-17 at 9:15am from the Kostanski Funeral Home 220 Federal St. Greenfield followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10am at Blessed Sacrament Church. Calling hours will be Friday 2-24-17 from 5-7pm at the funeral home. Burial will take place on Monday 2-27-17 at 11am at St. Thomas Cemetery in Southington, CT.
Anyone wishing to make a donation in her name can contact the Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary P.O. Box 2260 Spotsylvania, VA 22553.
Sympathy messages available at www.kostanskifuneralhome.com