Cover photo for Deirdre G. Phillips's Obituary
Deirdre G. Phillips Profile Photo
1935 Deirdre 2021

Deirdre G. Phillips

May 27, 1935 — December 11, 2021

The live stream will begin when the Funeral Service begins at 3:00p.m. on Thursday, December 23 at the following link:
Deirdre (Jan) Gambrel Phillips, 86, died peacefully on December 11, 2021 at her home. Her memorial service will be held at Unity Temple on the Plaza on Thursday, December 23rd at 3PM. Friends are invited to a reception at the residence following the service.
Jan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 27, 1935, to Katherine Stubbs and Harry Maurice Gambrel, a civic leader, insurance executive, and judge. Jan graduated from the Barstow School and Pine Manor Junior College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. In the summer of 1954, she was presented as a debutante in Kansas Citys first Jewel Ball. She completed her junior year at the Institut Britannique De Paris in Paris, France. In 1983, she completed her undergraduate work with a BA in English "with distinction" from UMKC. She was nominated to Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society, and Sigma Tau Delta, English Honorary Society.
After graduation, she worked as a technical writer at Sprint. In 1991, she was awarded a teaching fellowship to Boston University, and left Kansas City for one year to earn a Master of Arts in English. After her return, she worked at Penn Valley Community College where she was the lead writing tutor in the Learning Center as well as an adjunct English faculty member for many years. She also taught English as a second language at Della Lamb to refugees from Somalia and Vietnam, a passion she shared with her husband. Other aspects of her love of English and writing included technical writing at UMKC, the lead essay teacher in Upward Bound program at UMKC, and editorial assistant at New Letters. Jan also authored several novels and non-fiction articles. An avid reader, her life was enhanced by her love of language and literature, as well as theater and the arts. A cruciverbalist, she solved the New York Times crossword every day until her death.
As a young girl, Jan traveled extensively. In 1956, she traveled with her uncle and cousin to Ireland, England, the Canary Islands, and around the Cape of Good Hope to South Africa on the way to the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, and then back to Kansas City via New Zealand, the Fiji Islands and Hawaii. Later, with her mother and children, she lived in St. Cloud, a suburb of Paris, France, where she honed her French language skills. Later, with her husband, she traveled extensively though Europe in 1985. Those fortunate enough to travel with her always discovered a hidden gem in Jans knowledge of special places, particularly in Paris.
Jan was especially proud of her children and the kindness and thoughtfulness they, and her grandchildren exhibit. Jan is predeceased by her maternal grandparents, Charlie and Della Stubbs; her fraternal grandparents, Ora Lee and Florence Rupp Gambrel; her father, Harry Maurice Gambrel; her mother, Katherine Stubbs Gambrel; sister, Diana Gambrel Huston; stepson, George Charles Phillips, sister-in-law, Elizabeth Cochran Matthews; cousin, Katherine Graham Spencer; her son, Joseph Haney (Josh) Cochran III and her husband of 41 years, George Alonzo Phillips, who died in 2015. She is survived by her two children, Christian Gambrel Cochran, his wife Janna and their two sons, grandsons, Quinlan Martin Cochran and Christian Reece Cochran; and daughter, Deirdre Elizabeth Sheerin; step-daughter, Suzanne Elizabeth Phillips, her husband Roger Dillan, her children and grandchildren; her cousins, Dr. Patrick Graham, Stephanie Tinsley and John Stubbs; her nieces, Alice Elizabeth Matthews; Katherine Spencer Rivard, Elisabeth McCune Spencer and several more nieces and nephews. Jan also leaves many wonderful, lifelong friends including Karen Van Voorst Turner, her oldest friend, born a mere two weeks before her. Considered "plucky" by her large circle of family and friends, Jans enthusiasm and interest in the world around her will be missed for years to come.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Fowler Public Library, Fowler, Colorado, 81039, or to a charity of choice.

. Memorial Service Unity Temple on the Plaza

Thursday, December 23, 2021

3:00 PM

707 West 47th StreetKansas City, MO 64112

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