Phyllis Warren-Briggs, 76

Phyllis Warren-Briggs

Phyllis Warren-Briggs

LONGMONT, COLORADO — A life lived as beautifully as that of Phyllis Warren-Briggs cannot be given justice in this space. For a complete history, please go to http://darrellhowemortuary.com/obituaries/2016-01/phyllis-warren-briggs.

Phyllis was born in Bridgton, Maine, on Jan. 15, 1939, to W. Wilton Warren and Mavis Partridge Warren and died in Longmont, Colorado, on Jan. 9, 2016. Phyllis was a fighter. In the last weeks of her life she battled gall bladder surgery, pneumonia, and sepsis, ultimately succumbing to the overwhelming force of acute myeloid leukemia.

Phyllis treasured her Maine heritage and was a lifelong financial supporter of the Fryeburg Academy and the University of Maine. Frequent visits to the beautiful family property near Fryeburg kept her in touch with the Academy and college friends, and refreshed the heritage of self-reliance that marks a true Mainer.

Family and friends were everything to Phyllis. Her heart may have stopped but it never failed. After receiving her baccalaureate, she moved to Colorado and lived for a time with her older sister, Carley Warren, who survives her. Phyllis remained close to their younger sister, Rosie, who preceded Phyllis in death. Phyllis cherished her daughters Meredyth (Dennis Flanigan) and Melanie (Shadd Field), and took pride in their lives and careers. Together Melanie and Meredyth gave Phyllis four beautiful grandchildren, Kiegan, Samantha, Carly, and Cadel. Phyllis was also close to Tom’s children; especially his granddaughters Maddyson and Taryn.

Shortly after moving to Colorado in 1960, Phyllis met and married Jerry Muth. They lived in Dillon and Vail and both were involved in the ski industry. Upon separation from Jerry, Phyllis moved with her daughters to Boulder where she lived for fifteen years. To their great credit, Phyllis and Jerry remained lifelong friends and collaborative parents. Jerry visited her in the hospital in Nov. It was in Boulder that Phyllis found her professional calling in nonprofit organization development. She was development director from 1982 to 1995 for the Center for Improvement of Local Government at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs in Denver, where she was known there for her fierce commitment to excellence in state and local government management.

Phyllis married Thomas Briggs on July 22, 1994. They lived in Budapest, Hungary from 1995 to 1999. Phyllis and Tom traveled extensively throughout Southern and Central Europe. Phyllis particularly enjoyed their many visits to London, where she enjoyed the theatre, museums, and historical sites. Phyllis applied her professional skills at a USAID-sponsored project in Hungary administered by the International City Management Association in 1997 and 1998. Upon their return to the United States in 1999, Phyllis lived in Fairfax, Virginia, and volunteered at the Newseum. She then worked in development for the Folger Institute and Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2000 and 2001. Reuniting with her boss from the project in Hungary, who had become Executive Director of Sister Cities International, Phyllis worked there from 2001 to 2007 as development director. After retiring from Sister Cities, Phyllis returned to volunteer work at the Newseum and the Smithsonian Institution. A highlight of Phyllis’ commitment to education occurred in 2015 when she and Tom endowed a fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation for future U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officers enrolled in the NU Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.

The values that animated Phyllis’s life were love of family and friends, support of the less fortunate through nonprofits, maintaining critical educational and cultural institutions, and fostering global peace through understanding. Her salient characteristic was overcoming adversity with grace and quiet dignity. There will be two memorials to celebrate and honor Phyllis’life, one in Colorado for Western friends and one in Maine for Eastern friends. Interment in Colorado will be private. The event in Maine will include the return of her ashes to the land that she loved and will occur this summer. The Colorado celebration will occur on Jan. 30 in Louisville. Please contact Tom, Meredyth or Melanie for details.

Contributions in lieu of flowers will be welcomed at either InReach or the Fryeburg Academy. InReach is a Boulder nonprofit that provides affordable mental health services to all people, but especially children. Gifts to InReach may be made at http://coloradogives.org/PWBriggs

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