Phyllis Gapen was born May 4, 1949 in rural eastern San Diego County, California and passed away on November 25, 2013 at her home in Houston, Texas at the age of 64. She fought a courageous battle with cancer for over 23 years.
Phyllis is survived by two brothers Ralph(Carol) and Milton “Milt”, niece, nephews, great nieces and nephews, spouses, the Bowling family, the Williams family and a large extended family of friends that stretch from coast to coast.
Phyllis graduated from Grossmont High School where she met her best friend for life, Gayle Williams. Her high school English teacher, Dawn Miller, inspired her to pursue writing as a career. She put herself through school at San Diego State University and graduated with her BA in Journalism. Her first job out of college was at the Ocean Side Blade Tribune which laid a wonderful foundation for her career in journalism.
Her career took her to Washington, DC where she lived on Capitol Hill and was a freelance journalist. She was also a fundraiser for mental health, a subject close to her heart, with prominent psychiatrist Dr. E. Fuller Torrey.
She had a successful editing/writing business that she had to close due to her illness. She then worked at the University of Houston Information Technology for 16 years until 2012.
Phyllis' many interests included a profound social conscience. This lead to her work for eldercare reform, medical school cultural equality, and cancer research. The book that she has been writing with Jay Harness, “On Breast Cancer” will be published in 2014. Harness says that it is the best book he has ever touched. She also was an actively spiritual person, "seeking the face of God."'
Phyllis will also be remembered as a loyal friend, having a great sense of humor and giving spirit.
In the spirit of giving, Phyllis donated her body to science and in this same spirit, we ask that donations be made to M.D. Anderson, PO Box 4486, Houston TX 77210 or a cancer research fund of your choice.
Celebrations of Phyllis life will be held at:
Live Oak Friend Meeting
1318 W 26th Street
Houston, TX 77008
December 15, 2013
Unity Church of El Cajon
311 Highland Avenue
El Cajon, California 92020
December 31, 2013