Phyllis Jean Morris Pendergraft, 85, of Fishersville, died on Sunday, August 11, 2019, at Brightview Baldwin Park in Staunton. She was born in Richmond, Virginia, and raised in Clifton Forge by foster parents. She was preceded in death by her former husband, Gradon O'Kelly Pendergraft Jr.; and his parents, Gradon and Maria Pendergraft. Phyllis was a remarkable woman, who was ahead of her time and a true trailblazer for women. She graduated from Clifton Forge High School, and worked for General Electric/Genicom for 40 years, working her way up from transcriptionist, to receptionist, to travel/services coordinator, and finally to sales representative. Throughout her adult life, Phyllis was also very involved in community activities and civic endeavors, including the Republican Party, United Way, Waynesboro Beautification Commission, Waynesboro Fall Foliage Festival, and, more recently, the Wayne Theatre Alliance. She was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1968, and served on the National Platform Committee. She served as President and founder of the Waynesboro-East Augusta Woman's Club. She was appointed by Governor Holton to serve on the Virginia Commission for Women, and was reappointed as Chairman of the Commission by Governors Godwin and Dalton. Phyllis was elected the first woman President of the United Way of Virginia, and she received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce. She also taught Sunday school to four-year olds at Waynesboro First Baptist Church, which she found especially rewarding. Surviving are her daughter, Jimese Pendergraft Sherrill and her husband, Gerald "Jerry" Sherrill, of Springfield; one grandson, James "Jake" Sherrill of Castle Rock, Colo.; niece, Kimberly Hicks Laney of Apex, N.C.; nephews, William D. Hicks Jr. and his wife, Debbie, of Alpharetta, Ga., and Anthony C. Hicks and his wife, Jeany, of Wake Forest, N.C.; and several grandnieces and grandnephews. She was a beloved mother and friend. The family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff of Brightview Baldwin Park for their unfailing care, love and devotion. The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. Thursday, August 22, 2019, at McDow Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, August 23, 2019, at McDow Funeral Home, officiated by the Rev. Dr. Glen Holman. Interment will follow at Augusta Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.
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