Madlyn Elizabeth Phillips
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Madlyn Phillips on February 10, 2021.
Madlyn was born in Fredericton and is predeceased by parents Harry Scott Bailey and Violet Elizabeth Bailey (nee Turvey), brother Philip William Bailey, and husband Antony Frank Phillips.
Left to mourn are daughter Diane (Gerald Conway) of Ottawa, son Peter of Fredericton, grandchildren Scott and Sarah Conway of Ottawa, and nephew David Bailey of Sarnia.
Mischievous and fun throughout her life, Madlyn always had a twinkle in her eye. She and her brother Phil got up to so many antics as children, they were dubbed the "Bailey brats". She was a good student despite the antics and was usually at the top of her class. After her brother left for war in 1941, she started at UNB where she enjoyed the rigours of university studies and the vibrancy of academic social life. In 1947, she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts.
However, life was not easy for Madlyn as a young woman. Tragically, her fiancé passed away within a year of their engagement. In 1948, her father passed away from colon cancer. Her losses at such a young age led to a lifelong aversion to the medical profession. Madlyn’s motto became: "If you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question."
In 1953, she married Frank Phillips, a photoengraver from England. They met at the Daily Gleaner where they both worked and they started their married life in Fredericton. They then moved to Montréal, and shortly afterward to Boston, where Diane was born in 1956, and Peter followed in 1959. Just a month before Peter was born, Madlyn's husband Frank suffered a serious heart attack. During Frank’s recuperation, Madlyn became primary caregiver to both Frank and Diane, along with delivering Peter.
After Frank’s recovery, they moved to Rhode Island. As a stay at home mom, Madlyn provided many adventures for her children, including beach days, day trips, and freedom to dam brooks and build tree houses. She and Frank had many friends. There were frequent happy family times fishing, barbecuing, and summer trips home to Fredericton to visit her mother Violet Bailey and her well-known Shore Street landmark, Bailey’s General Store.
Life was good. When Peter started school, Madlyn began her studies in Library Science at the University of Rhode Island. Then tragedy struck again when Frank passed away from a massive heart attack in 1966. She accepted a job at UNB at the Harriet Irving Library as a cataloguer, where she made many lifelong friends. She rekindled many of her Fredericton friendships and was an active member of the Fredericton Stamp Club.
Madlyn was a loving mother and eventually an equally loving grandmother. Bringing up two children on her own never seemed to be a burden to her, although it undoubtedly was. She encouraged Diane to pursue her professional dreams and was steadfast in her love and care for her son Peter.
Despite the many tragedies in her life, Madlyn never complained, and was a sweet and kind soul to everyone she met. She had an open and smiling face, and many strangers came up to her to tell her their life stories.
Those of you who knew her saw her unfailing courage, kindness, and willingness to help others. Madlyn was a gracious hostess and enjoyed a good party, often with her signature rye and ginger in hand. After retirement, she travelled extensively, mostly on her own. One time in Bermuda, she met a group of sailing enthusiasts who adopted her for a week and took her sailing.
She was devoted to her grandchildren, Scott and Sarah, who gave her much pride and joy. She delighted in her son-in-law Gerry, with whom she enjoyed many stories and discussions, often ending with "agreeing to disagree." Madlyn was the mother-in-law you wanted to have come to visit.
Madlyn remained stylish to the end. Up until the past few years, she toured around Fredericton in her sporty Mustang convertible, which she dubbed "Black Beauty."
As osteoporosis set in, Madlyn’s later years became increasingly difficult. She faced it with dignity, never losing her spirit, her sense of fun, or that twinkle in her eye. She spent her final year at Windsor Court, and her many friends were of immense support to her.
Madlyn will be missed by many, and remembered with deep love and gratitude for the privilege of having her in their lives.
A memorial service will take place at St. Anne’s Chapel of Ease on Thursday, February, 25, 2021 at 2 pm, by invitation only. For those unable to attend, this service can be watched online at the following link: https://vimeo.com/511273096. Interment will be held at the Fredericton Rural Cemetery at a later date. Donations in Madlyn’s memory would be greatly appreciated to Greener Village Community Food Centre or a charity of the donor’s choice.