Obituaries » Phebe Ellen Fullerton Cress
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March 16, 2021
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Phebe Ellen Fullerton Cress, born on December 27th 1940, joined her ancestors in the Great Botanical Beyond on March 16, 2021. Phebe / Mama / Mimi was a whole-hearted, willful, Southern Matriarch of the highest order. What a woman! Maverick advocate for the rights of all humans, she was a writer, reader, teacher, gardener, risk-taker, antique rescuer, and hostess supreme. Phebe built Project Link in Roanoke as her culminating life-long effort to advocate for the lives of women. She was the last remaining child of Eula St. John Fullerton and Thomas Bushnell Fullerton of Abington, Virginia. Celebrating her life and her fierce legacy are her devoted husband of 47 years, Jake Cress, and four children, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grand daughter, her namesake, Phebe Wren Spellman. Her children are Lynn McDowell and husband Jim; Adrian Blevins and partner Cedric Bryant; Shelly Blevins-Stanley and husband Andy; Mosby Cress and wife Melissa. Her adoring grandchildren, in birth order, are Weston Church, Zoe McDowell Spellman, Benjamin Church, Joseph McDowell, Madison Stanley, Cameron Stanley, August Rudy, Jacob Cress, Caroline Cress, and Lilly Cress. Special friends Charlotte and Rob Hagan and an ever-expanding extended family loved her beyond measure. Phebe’s children are convinced that she is currently holding court with her beloved Yokie and ancestors somewhere lush and green, engulfed in the peaceful fragrance of a full-blooming mock orange, sipping either sherry or tea, telling it like it is. ad astra per aspera, y’all.
A festive celebration of her life will be held this spring or summer as COVID wanes.