Phyllis Ann Hart
September 11, 1933 - May 24, 2018
Phyllis Ann Hart passed peacefully into the arms of her Lord on May 24th, 2018 at the age of 84. She is survived by a sister, three children, five grandchildren, a large extended family in her hometown of East Rochester, New York, countless friends and hundreds of former students. She devoted her life to public service, first as a nurse back east, then as an educator at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood for 37 years. She was as tenacious as she was gregarious, refusing to retire from work until the age of 80, and never retiring from life until the day she died. Kind, hard working, friendly and relentlessly generous with both food and affection, she will be missed dearly by her loved ones who can take solace in knowing that she is now in a better place.
Phyllis was born in the town of East Rochester, New York on September 11th, 1933 to Phyllis and Frank Maranzano. She was the youngest of five sisters, Virginia, Antoinette, Josephine and Rose Maranzano. Sadly, her mother passed away during childbirth, but the lack of a mother did not prevent Phyllis from performing that role admirably later in life. Feeling a little overwhelmed with raising five girls as a single father, Frank sent Phyllis to live with her aunt in Washington D.C. for part of her childhood. She loved taking the train into Washington, and remembered hunting Easter eggs on the White House lawn.
As an Italian, Phyllis was raised Catholic, but found Presbyterianism as a young woman. While she was working as a nurse, her boyfriend at the time joined the Air Force to fight in the Korean War. He wanted to break up the relationship temporarily, and resume it on returning. Phyllis would hear none of it, and told him that if he left, she wouldn’t be waiting when he came back. After the moment had passed, Phyllis began to feel depressed about her relationship ending. Some of her friends at the hospital she worked at invited her to attend their church service, in hopes that it would cheer her up. They couldn’t have known how successful that would be, as Phyllis found the service much more to her liking than the Latin Mass and shortly later formally joined the church.
It was, in part, through this church that she met her late husband, John Henry Hart II. When they first met, Phyllis said that he looked like a kid. But he was persistent, and got her to agree to a date. She initially planned to stand him up, but her friends encouraged her to give him a chance. When they went out, they talked for hours and hours. Not long after, she wanted to go to church with him. John, assuming she was a Catholic like most other Italians and being a Presbyterian himself, begrudgingly agreed, saying he’d give it a try. As she started giving him directions in the car, he found that she was directing him to a Presbyterian church rather than a Catholic one. In another twist of fate, it turned out that the minister was a family friend from John’s old church back in his hometown. The minister invited them over for brunch and told them that it was God who brought them together and that nothing is just a coincidence. On June 7th, 1957, they were married in Morgantown, West Virginia. Phyllis’s sisters were not happy with her leaving Catholicism and marrying John, but eventually forgave her. They lived in the Rochester area when their son John H. Hart III was born. They were living in Canandaigua when Sandra was born in 1959. The family settled down in New Jersey.
In the early 1960s, John found a job opportunity in Washington State and the family moved to the big red house in Lynnwood where they raised their children and lived for the remainder of their lives, having another child, Robert Hart, in 1965. Phyllis volunteered so much in the schools that a principal offered her a job. Not long after, Phyllis began working at Meadowdale Junior High, moving on to her position at Meadowdale High School in 1978, not retiring until 2013.
The memorial service will be held June 29th at 1:00pm at:
Maplewood Presbyterian Church, 19523 84th Avenue West, Edmonds, WA 98026
Donations in honor of Phyllis’ life can be made to the Meadowdale High School PTA.