Phyllis Jean Goldbach, 71

Published 11:05 am Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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Our family and friends are saddened to share news of the unexpected death of Phyllis Jean Goldbach, who passed away in her home in Avon Lake, Ohio on October 5, 2021.

Phyllis was born in Stanford, Kentucky on October 23, 1949, the daughter of Grace (née Frazier) and Letcher S. Blanton. She married John Frederick Goldbach, with whom she admitted being “crazy in love,” in 1981. John died of cancer in 1996, leaving her to raise a son on her own – which she did exceptionally well and with great pride.

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From humble beginnings, she rose to the pinnacle of a profession she loved: serving as a nurse practitioner of psychiatric medicine at Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center. She earned degrees from the University of Akron, Ashland University, and Kent State University and paid forward this knowledge and opportunity, serving as an adjunct instructor at Lorain County Community College for more than 20 years. In 2017, Phyllis was recognized with the Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Award for her contributions to mentoring and training Kent State’s nursing students, many of whom she befriended and kept in touch with well beyond graduation.

Over the past couple of years, she suffered adverse side effects from a surgery that resulted in decreased mobility and her retirement. She was a fighter, though, and progressed from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane and was optimistic about the prospects of returning to autonomy, dining out, and travel. We wish to thank the loyal friends and neighbors, including Linda, Alice, Fred, Tammy, Kris, Ken and Pat, and so many more, who supported Phyllis during this challenging period.

Phyllis knew what she liked and what she didn’t and rarely shied away from expressing those opinions, a trait we admired with knowing smirks. During her all-too-brief retirement, she treasured finally being on her own schedule, saying: “I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to work for more than fifty years, and I’ll now get up when I please!” Phyllis was a prolific crocheter and quilter and lover of true crime stories.

Phyllis often repeated the John F. Kennedy quote derived from Biblical text: “For of those to whom much is given, much is required” and she acted on those words through charity and support of family, friends, and students throughout her life.

She was a congregant of Calvary Baptist Church in Avon Lake, and the family together faithfully attended services both there and Holy Spirit Church in the 1980s and 90s.

Phyllis is survived by her loving son Justin Goldbach, and his partner Skyler Rogers, as well as Tom Blanton, a nephew; Alexa and Mav Blanton, a grandniece and grandnephew; Mary Ellen Allen, a sister-in-law; and an aunt, uncle, and extended family in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and beyond.

An outdoor visitation and memorial service will be held at the gazebo at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 32756 Lake Road, in Avon Lake, Ohio on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcomed for a memorial scholarship fund being established at Lorain County Community College for aspiring nurses. To contribute, go to the Treasured Memories Community Funding website and search for Phyllis J. Goldbach or directly visit 440-933-3202