April 1, 1998 in City

One Vote Matters; Phyllis Proved That

By The Spokesman-Review

Phyllis Williams made a difference.

She devoted herself to her family, the nursing profession, her church - and ultimately to the Post Falls School District, which had taught her four children and now teaches her grandchildren.

Sadly, Phyllis won’t see her first granddaughter graduate from Post Falls High this spring. At age 62, she died March 21, seven months after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Before she died, however, the former Inland Empire Mother of the Year served her family and community one last time.

She voted by absentee ballot in favor of a new Post Falls High School. We know now, of course, how important her vote was. The $18 million bond survived Idaho’s tough two-thirds supermajority requirement - by one vote.

“Everybody in Post Falls who voted for the bond thinks (his or her) vote made the difference,” longtime friend Sally Howell said Tuesday. “But I’d like to think it was hers that did.”

So do we.

Phyllis Williams’ life was a testimony to selflessness.

In 1971, her daughter, Rosie, then 12, recognized what a special mother she had when she penned a letter that impressed Spokane Chamber of Commerce judges. “My mother has lost 15 pounds because she is on a diet,” wrote Rosie in part, “but she still cooks good food for my Dad and four of us kids and sometimes shares our food with people who are old and sick.”

The letter earned Williams mother-of-the-year honors.

Shortly afterward, she proved how extraordinary she really was when divorce left her a middle-aged single mother with four growing children. She didn’t mope. Instead, she guided her kids through school, while attending North Idaho College to become a registered nurse.

Her final month of life was typical.

She spent her time praying for everyone she knew. As she lay bedridden only days before her death, she asked Howell to get her a ballot. She was bothered by the overcrowding at the high school. She was worried that her sixth-grade granddaughter was attending a middle school forced into double-shifting. With her strength flagging, she signed her name and cast her final ballot.

The one that made the difference.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board

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