RICHMOND, Ind. – Phyllis S. Holden, who led a varied career as a journalist, editor, public relations specialist, social worker, and homemaker, died at her home in Richmond, early Friday evening of respiratory illness. She was 76.
Phyllis was born March 16, 1943, in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of attorney Robert F. Schroader and mother, Phyllis McVey Schroader, a legal secretary. She was educated in Dayton Public Schools, including Fairmont High School.
Phyllis attended Indiana University, Bloomington, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors in her junior year before graduating with highest distinction in 1968. She thereafter worked as a staff writer for the Family Living section of the Bloomington Tribune. Two years later, and after her marriage to Richard Holden, a colleague journalist at the newspaper, Phyllis moved to Richmond where she was employed as co-director of the Earlham College News Bureau.
Her responsibilities included hosting a half-hour weekly program of news and features about Earlham College activities for Whitewater Television. The program showcased her vivacious personality and cerebral wit and led to her recruitment in promoting the efforts of several community betterment organizations, including the fledgling Society for the Preservation and Use of Resources, the Richmond Rose Festival, and the Whitewater Opera Company.
Among her editorial accomplishments, Phyllis edited the English language portions of Nihongo, a high-school textbook on basic Japanese language produced by Akiko Kakutani of Earlham’s Japanese Studies Department, with support from the Japan Foundation and the Indiana Department of Education. The text was used in high school classes throughout Indiana.
In the summer of 1990, she co-led a group of Earlham College students in a three-week research expedition in Northern Ireland.
Over the years, Phyllis gained a keen interest in the well-being and education of children, which led to roles as caseworker with the Wayne County Welfare Department’s Children’s Services Division. Moving from welfare to education, she became a substitute teacher in Richmond and Wayne County schools. Phyllis was once co-director of Trueblood Nursery School and active in PTA for Parkview Elementary School.
Her creativity and broad interests included gardening, multiple crafts, drawing, and personal journaling. A passionate reader able to recall centuries-old classic poems from memory, Phyllis was also interested in Native American arts and issues of justice toward their communities.
Phyllis attended, successively, all three Richmond Quaker churches — Clear Creek Meeting of Friends, First Friends, and West Richmond Friends.
She is survived by her husband; son, Joshua Holden, of Montreal, Canada; and sister, Adaline Rockwell of Davis, California. An infant daughter, Chanson, preceded her in death.
No funeral is planned, but Phyllis’s cremains will be interred at Earlham Cemetery. Doan & Mills Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Plans for a memorial service for Phyllis S. Holden are underway and will soon be announced by West Richmond Friends, 609 W. Main St., Richmond.
Condolences may be sent to the family via the guest book at www.doanmillsfuneralhome.com.