GREEN CREEK -- Mary June Holloway Phillips, age 87, passed away peacefully on July 20, 2020 in Pittsboro, North Carolina. She was born on June 25, 1933 in Sioux, North Carolina, a part of Yancey County in the Cane River watershed.
She raised three children, Lisa (Rosenbarker), Carroll Phillips and Gary Phillips, but she mothered many, including her beloved nephew and niece Bill and Judy Fagan(Atkins), who she “tended” as babies and adored all her life.
June grew up on a hillside farm not far from the Tennessee border. Her mother Etta was part Cherokee and served as postmistress in Bee Log. Her father Bob tended tobacco and practiced retail Democratic politics. She was the last surviving sibling of ten: Virgil, Madge, Wade, Robert, Lena, Colbert, Pat, and Maudie and Vaughtie(the twins).
June loved her mountain family and played basketball in high school but followed her sister Lena down to the foothills of Green Creek and lived there almost all her life. There she met her husband Gurley and found a church community in Green Creek Baptist, where she had many loving friends and taught Sunday School for years. She worked as a cotton mill worker and a homemaker, but her true vocation was in caring for others: tending the elderly, delivering Meals On Wheels with Gurley, mentoring youth in her community for generations and creating an atmosphere of hospitality, with compassion for all, great food and an abundance of laughter.
Close family friend Pat Jobe has written: “Mary June Holloway Phillips embodied all grace and humor, loved to laugh, held her children and grandchildren, friends and husband in caresses of adoration that strained all standards. Those who knew her could scarcely believe a love like June’s could exist. She set a high bar, but we can still reach for it.”
June is survived by two children: Lisa Rosenbarker (Damon) and Gary Phillips (Ilana Dubester); five grandchildren: Adam Phillips, Giles Crider (Bill Bailey), Jesse Phillips (Jenna Schreiber Phillips), Bryce Rosenbarker and Bailey June Rosenbarker, plus two great grandchildren, Brooks Phillips and Bennett Phillips.
June was preceded in death by her son, Carroll Phillips and the love of her life, Gurley Phillips.
Loved ones are invited to join her family for a short graveside service at 11:00 am on Thursday, July 23rd at Green Creek First Baptist Church, with a visitation starting at 10:00am.
All attendees are expected to wear masks and to follow social distancing guidelines. In memory of June we want to protect each other and keep each other safe.
In lieu of flowers please send a donation to your local hospice organization.
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