Farewell to a true lady
5:00am Saturday 26th July 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
“SHE was a lady, and never left the house without a hat on,” said the niece of centenarian Phyllis Oborne, who died peacefully in her sleep last week.
The 101-year-old, who survived two world wars and lived in Swindon for most of her life, was a resident of Fairhaven Residential Care Home in Old Town, where she died on July 19, for almost 10 years,.
Phyllis, who did not have any children of her own, spent a lot of time with her nephew, John Butcher, and his wife Edna.
Edna, 76, who lives in Kennington, said: “I think she was marvellous. My husband always used to say that she would beat everyone, and she has – all my husband’s side of the family died in their 70s.
“She also only started to get a bit of dementia recently, and she would always talk about the things she remembered. When she first went to Fairhaven she just loved it. Where she had been living on her own for so long she really loved the company.”
The youngest of three siblings, Phyllis was born to Agnes and Edward Butcher on November 19, 1912. She was born and grew up in a house in Stafford Street along with her brothers, Edward and William, and after attending Gilbert’s Hill Girls School she trained to be a dressmaker.
Edna said: “She loved embroidery and she loved knitting, and she always looked immaculate. She was always the height of fashion and up to date with all the trends.”
She married her husband, Jack, at Swindon Register Office in December 1939 shortly after the Second World War broke out.
Edna said: “I think that’s the reason why they got married, because war had just broken out. I know her husband was an electrician, and he was a prisoner of war in Italy during the war. He was a bombardier in the Royal Artillery.”
Phyllis continued to live in the same house in Stafford Street until Jack died in 1956, when she moved to Bristol to live with her brother.
She returned to Swindon in her 70s, and lived for a while in Salisbury Street.
Lorraine Sawyer, general manager at Fairhaven, said: “It was a wonderful privilege to have been able to provide a home to Phyllis. She was a lovely lady with a big personality. ”
A service will be held at Whitworth Road Chapel on August 18 at 11am. Flowers welcome, enquires to Co-operative Funeralcare on 01793 491091.