Phyllis B. Bangser

BANGSER - Phyllis B., 96, passed away at home on June 24, 2021. Cherished wife of 55 years of Larry (who passed away on May 20, 2000), her consistent grace was an inspiration to her three children: Hank (Sara), Mike (Deb) and Maggie (Rakesh); seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A graduate of Barnard College at 19, she was the epitome of a lifelong learner; an active volunteer who was ever an example of making the world a better place.

Phyllis was a woman of exceptional and broad interests and talents. But above all else, well into the adult lives of their children, she and Larry were their chief cheerleaders and mentors. This profound commitment to their family carried forward to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Phyllis started her professional career immediately after college working for The New York Times, a job that helped finance Larry’s law school education after he returned from World War II.  She then focused her talents on a range of civic and volunteer activities. She taught art in the Mamaroneck Public Schools to emotionally and academically challenged 7th graders and continued that critical commitment to children’s well-being through her participation in The Arc (formerly the National Association for Retarded Children). Phyllis also served as an art teacher in the Mamaroneck Teacher Mom Program, taught literacy to elementary school children, and volunteered with Kaplan House, the Juvenile Justice project and UJA-Federation. At the age of 52, she applied her skills as a painter and her keen design sense to become an interior decorator.

Phyllis was a voracious reader of books and consumer of political and world events. Until the time of her passing, she remained deeply committed to democratic principles, most recently by writing hundreds of postcards to inform people about their right to vote. Phyllis and Larry travelled extensively across the globe. Among other international locations, Phyllis traveled dozens of times to Tanzania to visit her daughter Maggie and her family when they lived there for many years. Phyllis’s greatest joy was to gather family and friends together. She hosted countless dinner parties and, most important to her, for over 70 years she gathered family together for the Annual Family Thanksgiving feast. Family members knew that wherever they may be living at the time, attendance in the days just before and immediately after Thanksgiving was a gastronomic (and boisterous) gathering of epic proportions.

Far beyond the impressive lifetime of achievements chronicled here, Phyllis was truly one of the most gracious and caring people you could ever hope to know. Her intelligence, keen insights, kindness, commitment to making the world a better place, and abiding love of family and friends will live on in the generations of Bangsers that follow her.

Phyllis wished that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be sent in her name to: Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, 45 Wadsworth Ave., New York, NY 10033. There will be a private family service on Sunday, June 27th.