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Phyllis Eleanor (Walker) Hodgson, '49

Phyllis Eleanor (Walker) Hodgson, 93, passed away on June 29, 2017 in Mineral Point, WI.

Phyllis was born November 20, 1923 and grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. She wrote poetry, plays, and stories from childhood onward, and was the valedictorian of her 1942 high school graduating class. She attended Colorado College from 1942 to 1944, served in the WAVES in the Navy during World War II, and attended Antioch College from 1946 to 1949, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. 

She moved to Chicago, where she taught grade school for many years. She attended the Chicago Friends Meeting of Quakers where she met her future husband, Marshall Hodgson. They married and traveled together in Europe and Turkey for his research as an Islamic studies academic at the University of Chicago. He and Phyllis had three children. Following Marshall’s untimely death at age 48, Phyllis was instrumental in seeing through the completion and publication of the last volume of his major work, which is still in print in dozens of languages around the world. 

She moved to rural Clyde, WI with their children, at a special place she and her husband named Jamalistan, meaning “a place of divine beauty”. She attended the Madison Friends Meeting of Quakers for many years. A great music lover and piano player, she also loved walking daily in the hills of our beautiful area. She was active in the local community, visiting prisoners in Boscobel, acting in plays in Spring Green, writing plays and poetry, and was a member of a haiku poetry club in Mineral Point. 

     How many children

     Have I borne…how many eons

     Can love stretch memory?

     Gently, body, come with me

     Parting comes when in the lock

     Tumblers fall just right

Phyllis was so complex, smart, sassy and full of grief and humor. She was a seeker of meaning in life – a skeptical seeker, she was plagued with the worst kind of loss, that of her husband and children.  She was a survivor, a friend, a lover of nature, a supporter of women’s rights. 

She was eccentric, a cat lady, she threw parties, and loved to grow food. She observed nature more keenly than most – the bird songs always talking to her. She wrote countless poems remarking on nature’s beauty and tricks, the rise and fall of each season, the connection with everything. She appreciated details that most of us miss. Now she is on her way -- triumph over this life is hers. She took her last breath and is free!  Phyllis was buried simply, beautifully by her friends, directly in the earth as a green burial, as she wished.  May the cycle of life continue.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Leland, her husband Marshall Hodgson, their twin daughters Beverly (Berry) and Sarah, and their daughter Cynthia (Chantal).  She is survived by her niece Gail Kurth and her family of Eagle River, Alaska, and her nephew Mark Walker and his family of Brush Prairie, Washington.

The friends of Phyllis wish to extend sincere thanks to Sienna Crest Assisted Living in Mineral Point, Agrace (hospice) and the Madison Friends Meeting of Quakers. They gave her much attentive and loving care and spiritual support. 

Donations in her name may be given to the American Friends Service Committee. A memorial gathering to celebrate this strong, resilient and creative lady is planned for Sunday, July 23 at 12 noon. For details, please call Lindsey and Prairie at 608 583-2305 or Fanou and Bryan at 608 583-2626, and join us in remembering the long, eventful life of Phyllis Hodgson.