“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4
On the morning of Wednesday April 22, 2020, Geraldine Hunter Phillips entered in to a room, a place, specifically prepared for her in God’s house.
Gerri, as she was affectionately known, departed this life at her home in Raleigh, NC. She was born on March 9, 1940 in Boston Massachusetts to Gerald Hunter and Clementine L Brown (both deceased).
Educated in the Boston Public school system, Gerri graduated high school with a plan to see the world. What she found was a handsome Air force Man, Everett Daniel Phillips. Everett and Gerri were married in November of 1960 and remained together for the next forty-eight years until his death in 2008. They had two children, Karen and Sheila.
Professionally, Gerri returned to school and received a BA in Liberal Arts from Suffolk University. She touched on a variety of different fields, including Human resources and retail. The area in which she found most rewarding, however, was as an assistant director of admissions at Babson University. Gerri delighted in mentoring minority youths into college and beyond.
Gerri’s desire for adventure and to see the world never waned. Whenever possible, she and Everett packed their bags and boarded a cruise ship, no Island was off limits. As her children became adults, they too joined in on the fun. Gerri stepped on the soil of the motherland in Africa; she learned the hula in Hawaii, personally arranged a trip for herself and friends to Alaska and had a pre-80th birthday celebration zip lining in Jamaica. Gerri was fierce, loved life and had a lot of fun.
Of all things, Gerri loved God. She accepted the Lord into her heart at a very young age. Living by faith was her foundation, from her early years at Concord Baptist Church in Boston, MA, through her years at Zion Baptist Church in Everett, MA and finally, at St. Matthew Baptist Church in Raleigh. Gerri’s belief was, “Whatever the Lord called me to do, I would answer.” While at Zion Baptist Church, Pastored by her brother, Bishop Robert G Brown, Gerri was a Deaconess, active in the finance ministry and President of the Woman’s Auxiliary for the UBC.
After moving to Raleigh, NC in Jan 2012, Gerri settled into St. Matthew, under Pastor Ronald Avery, as her church home. There, she continued her work for the Lord, serving as President of the Senior Missionaries, working with the Touch of Love ministry, meals on wheels and, most importantly, Gerri sang. If there was a church, there was a choir and in the choir, whether at Zion or St. Matthew, you’d find Gerri proudly lifting her voice up. Along with her church activities, Gerri served as treasurer for her local chapter of AARP, she regularly worked the polls, encouraging people to vote and ran a small travel business.
Gerri was deeply devoted to her family and friends. Her children and grandchildren were her pride and joy and she would happily say that for six decades, she raucously cheered her children on in plays, pageants and games. But, it was not only her family that she was there for but also her friends. Gerri fervently stood by and supported her friends. If you needed to talk to someone, you called Gerri.
Gerri is preceded in death by her youngest brother, Ronald Brown. She leaves behind her two daughters: Karen Scott and Sheila Phillips; two granddaughters: Nicole Smith and Tamara Scott, two grandsons: Aaron Scott and Victor Smith, two great-grand children: Jamar and Tatiana Smith, several four-legged grand children, her brother, Bishop Robert G Brown, Sisters in-law: Marcia Brown, Sheila Caldwell, Blondina Robinson, Glenda Graham, Ethelyn Philips, brother-in-law, Donald Phillips and a host of nieces and nephews.
Gerri was our matriarch, our best friend, our guide, our beacon of hope, our prayer partner…our mother and grandmother. She was loved beyond measure and will be missed beyond words.
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