Phyllis Anderson Brown-Harver-Walker
Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023
IVOR – On Jan. 31, 2023, Phyllis Anderson Brown-Harver-Walker, 88, of Ivor passed into the realm of the heavenly and her Savior Jesus Christ after a long struggle with a weak and erratic heart. This was the last of many challenges she faced in life, including rheumatic fever in her teens, a debilitating essential tremor beginning in her 30’s, colon cancer and a heart attack. She was the first female to be treated at UVA with an experimental laser procedure on her brain for the tremor, highlighted nationally on the Diane Sawyer show. To say she was a “tough old bird,” as she described herself, is an understatement.
Phyllis was born to James Russell and Lucille Flippen Brown on Jan. 13, 1935, a birthday she shared with her father, a man she considered the most nearly perfect she ever knew. Phyllis grew up on the red clay of Powhatan County, Virginia in a tiny town called Tobaccoville, barely more than an intersection.
Shortly after graduating from Powhatan High School in 1953, Phyllis married John Marvin “J.M.” Harver, from neighboring Amelia County. The two were an instant match. Marvin was the love of her life. Phyllis had a good sense of humor, one that paired up well with Marvin, who loved to joke and tease. Life’s burdens were eased by a shared gift for taking themselves lightly.
As if raising four children weren’t enough, Phyllis worked various part-time jobs to make ends meet during child-rearing years. She began working for Franklin City Schools in 1969 and remained there for 22 years, serving as administrative assistant to five superintendents. She was lauded for her service to the school district, where she also began a lifelong friendship with Darlene Turner of Courtland, who she continued to exchange weekly cards, calls and text messages with until her passing.
Marvin passed away in November 1998 and Phyllis eventually remarried to Victor “Vic” Walker. Vic was a former state police officer like Marvin and a family friend. Phyllis and Vic’s marriage lasted 18 years until his passing in December 2019. She and Vic enjoyed each other’s company deeply, traveling together on tours by plane, train and bus.
If there was one thing in life that was extremely important to Phyllis it was her family. She was a strong and supportive wife, but just the most attentive and loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother you could ever imagine. She had a maternal instinct that was a driving force for her entire life. She was particularly taken by infants, feeling the joy of holding her great-grandchildren even in her last days. Some may tout their accolades in fame or fortune, but not Phyllis. Her humble nature would never allow anyone to draw attention to her through praise, but her unspoken positive impacts to so many lives are immeasurable.
Phyllis’ transition from life should be nothing less than a grand celebration. She made it quite clear to all that she was ready to pass, had countless blessings to be thankful for and only the happy anticipation of seeing her Lord and all those loved ones who had passed before her. She spent most of her life living in Southampton County and will be buried in the Ivor Cemetery next to Marvin.
She is survived by her sister, Ruby Wilson (I.B.); children, Keith Harver (Teresa), Cindy Darden (Ricky), Duane Harver (Debbie), Scott Harver (Debbie); grandchildren Missi Hatfield (Rickey), Casey Harver (Lacey), Kate Couch (Matt), Jacob Harver (Elyse), Lucas Harver, Sara Harver, Caleb Harver (Tiffani), Jesse Harver, Jamie Harver-Balinger (Ryan), Bethany Gurecki (Phil) and 14 great-grandchildren. Special thanks to LeeAnn Whitfield and others who cared for her. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heart Havens (https://www.hearthavens.org). Services will be held at the R.W. Baker Funeral Home, 11414 General Mahone Highway in Wakefield at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5. The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow her service in Ivor Cemetery. Condolences may be registered at www.RWBakerFH.com.