|Diane Pierce Phillips
1943 - 2003
peacecorpsonline.org, which at one time linked to the following article
in The Los Altos Town Crier. The obituary has since been moved to
Diane Phillips, 60, Foothills
minister and LAHS graduate, dies of cancer
By Joanne Griffith Domingue / Special
to the Town Crier
May Pierce Phillips, minister of Foothills Congregational Church in Los
Altos from 1991 to 1997, died April 30, 2003 of breast cancer at her
"She added a spiritual depth to our church by her
presence," said Fay Oliver, a Los Altos resident and longtime member of
Foothills Church. "She made everybody she was with feel good. She was
an excellent listener."
Mrs. Phillips began at Foothills in
1991 as an associate minister, her first job following graduation from
the seminary at Pacific School of Religion. After a few years, she and
her senior-minister colleague, the Rev. Jim Manley, traded jobs. Mrs.
Phillips became senior minister and Manley, who wanted more time to
work on his music, became associate minister.
In 1997, she
resigned. She said she didn't feel she was the right person for the
church. After a year off, she began serving as an interim minister. In
2001, two months into an interim assignment in Foster City, she was
diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer.
gave her a year," said Angi Peck, a Foothills member. "She had two. She
treated it with humor and was amazingly forward-looking."
15 years, including the years Mrs. Phillips ministered in Los Altos,
she traveled one day a week to the Ambassador Hotel in San Francisco,
where she ministered to homeless people.
As recently as six
weeks before she died, she went up with her dog. At the Ambassador,
there were residents who may not have talked to people, "but they
talked with (Mrs. Phillips') dogs," Peck said.
A week before
Mrs. Phillips died, she e-mailed her brother, Ken Pierce. "If there are
no dogs in heaven, I want to go where they went," she wrote.
her cancer diagnosis, she had a mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy.
She left Foster City during her treatment. The tumor shrank, she
stabilized and went on to serve two more interim ministries in
Suisun-Fairfield and El Cerrito.
Mrs. Phillips was born Jan.
24, 1943, in Washington, D.C. Her father, a geologist, moved to the
Menlo Park office of the U.S. Geological Survey when Mrs. Phillips was
a little girl. The family built a home in Los Altos Hills, where she
She graduated from Los Altos High School in 1960 and
from Stanford University in 1964. At Stanford, she met Julian Phillips.
They were married in 1964 and headed to Peru with the Peace Corps,
where they served for two years. Their daughter Lindsay was born in
1968, their son Jeff in 1971. The family moved to San Mateo in 1978.
Phillips is survived by her husband of 39 years, Julian; her children
Lindsay Phillips of Rochester, N.Y., and Jeff Phillips of San
Francisco; three grandsons and two brothers.
A service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Sunday, at Foothills
Congregational Church, 461 Orange Ave., Los Altos.
Diane was minister when my parents attended Foothills
Congregational Church on Orange Avenue in Los Altos. She was much
loved by all. She and her co-minister Jim Manley conducted my
father's memorial service in January 1997. She also occasionally
conducted services as an informal chaplain at The Forum in Cupertino --
where both her mother and my parents lived in those last years.
Diane meant a lot to me personally, and I still miss her very