Chesterton Tribune



Celebration of Life July 9 for Virginia Jean Phillips

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Virginia Jean Phillips, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, joining her beloved husband of 54 years, Harold W. Phillips, who passed before her in 2009.

Virginia was born in Chicago in 1931, graduated from South Shore High School and received her teaching degree at Chicago Teachers College. She worked as a teacher for a short time with Chicago Public Schools before attending the Art Institute of Chicago for her education in Interior Design. Virginia then joined Marc T. Nielsen as an interior designer in 1953. Virginia and Hal followed Marc T. Nielsen to Suman Valley in Valparaiso in 1960. She was a gifted artist and interior designer and owned Marc T. Nielsen Interiors for nearly 40 years.

Virginia always enjoyed painting and drawing since she was a little girl. In 1987, Virginia became a serious painter, influenced by Harriett Rex Smith at a workshop at the Art Barn. She continued to paint there with the inspiration of German Expressionist Konrad Juestel. Virginia’s main focus was color with various degrees of abstraction. Her paintings have been identified as compositions in the style of Matisse, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. In 2011, one of Virginia’s paintings was chosen for an Easter Seal Stamp. Again, in 2013 another of her Lily paintings received that honor. Virginia continually supported many non-profit organizations with her art.

Virginia was diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in 1998 and told her story to the world in a documentary called “Virginia, The Courage to Create”, in 2015. Virginia was a being of color, light, compassion and love for those whose lives she touched. She had a good word, a friendly demeanor, and an artistic and cheerful manner in how she encountered people and the world around her. She was a successful business woman, an artist and an inspiration on so many levels to so many people. Her house was always filled with people who felt her welcoming presence.

She and Hal showed tremendous generosity, love, and gentle support to their family, friends and neighbors. They both loved to travel, enjoyed music and always found time for each other to ballroom dance. Music was often playing when she created new pieces of art, each with a special touch and a fabulous depth of color. Though her works of art are what will remain on the physical plane, perhaps the deepest impression is in the hearts of those she touched. We now feel her angelic presence and are thankful for the moments we were graced to share.

Virginia is survived by her brother, Thomas Witzman at Symphony of Chesterton, her nieces Johanna (Jeff) Schroeder of Decatur, Illinois and Jocelyn Hibshman of Chesterton, her great-niece Elizabeth Hibshman and great-nephews Justin and Jason Schroeder and Evan Hibshman.

The family wishes to express its deepest gratitude and appreciation to her close friends and neighbors, Bob and Mary Allen, for the constant care and attention they showed to Virginia. She would not have enjoyed the same quality of life without them.

A celebration of Virginia’s life and art will be held on Sunday, July 9, 2017, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the Art Barn in Jackson Township, 695 N 400 E, Valparaiso, Indiana, 46383.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in honor of Virginia Phillips to the Art Barn, the National MS Society, or the Muscular Dystrophy Association.


Posted 5/17/2017





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