Auntie Phyllis was born Phyllis May Cooper in Boksburg, 10 June 1929. Her father passed away when she was only 18 months. With her sister, Mona Winifred, Phyllis was placed in an orphanage, Hope Home, in Johannesburg. Her mother worked two jobs to support the girls and brought them home over weekends and they also spent a lot of time with family.
While at school Phyllis helped out working at an uncle’s coffee shop. She finished her schooling early, as it was necessary for her to work. Her mother approached the bank manager and told him, “My daughter needs a job!” Phyllis started work at the bank the very next day!
Later when working at a jewellery company, Phyllis met Richard Laing (Dick) who worked at an insurance firm. They married, bought a house and Phyllis became a housewife and developed her gardening skills. Once when she broke her ankle, her niece, Elaine with her children (Brad and Tracey), came to nurse her. 16 years ago Richard passed away and Phyllis first moved to Springs and then to Cape Town where she joined the Milnerton Methodist Church.
Through her cousin Edward Cain (a Doctor in Theology who edited Signposts), Phyllis came into contact with Frontline Fellowship and became the mission’s Bookkeeper over 13 years ago. Aside from invaluable work in keeping the books of Frontline Fellowship, being Secretary of United Christian Action and a Trustee of East Mountain Trust, Phyllis was active in Abbyfield.
Her steady, clear thinking, diligence and perseverance, was a good example and a vital stabilising influence in turbulent times and stressful situations.
Phyllis decided to settle closer to family and moved to Margate, mid-April 2009. Her love and concern for the mission cats and personnel will be sorely missed. Phyllis’ wishes were granted as she was laid to rest very close to her family. While going through her precious belongings, the family found the following letter, written by Phyllis:
Don’t cry for me when I am gone,
I will be with my beloved Dick,
safe in the arms of Jesus,
free from sorrow and pain.