Obituaries » Phyllis Lieselottle Hahn Gary

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Phyllis Lieselottle Hahn Gary

November 15, 1919 - December 7, 2020

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PHYLLIS LIESELOTTE HAHN GARY, wife of the late Dr. David Daniel Gary, died Monday, December 7, 2020 at The Summit in Lynchburg, Virginia.  She was born in Aachen, Germany on November 15, 1919 to John Hans Hahn, a restauranteur and photographer, and Elisabeth Lilly Schilling Hahn.

Phyllis attended Catholic school until she came to the USA in 1930 with her parents because of Hitler, at age 10, landing on Ellis Island February 22 (Washington’s Birthday).  She attended elementary school in New York City, without speaking English, graduating with honors from Julia Richman High School in New York City in 1938, and attended Hunter College.

Phyllis was Secretary and Registrar of the Mannes School of Music (now a college), which was founded by Clara Damrosch Mannes and David Mannes. The students were mostly wealthy—such as Richard Roger’s children, Irving Berlin and his children, and very well-known artists of opera etc. She was the private secretary to their son, Leopold Damrosch Mannes, who was co-inventor of the Kodachrome process (colored photography). Several years later he and his co-inventor went to Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY to perfect the process.  Her next position was with an ophthalmologist who became director of the Eye Institute of Columbia Hospital.  She was Administrative Clinical Assistant to world-renowned eye surgeon, Dr. Arthur DeVoe (the first surgeon to use corneal implants), who was Director of the Eye Institute and Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology, Eye Institute at Presbyterian Hospital, and Columbia University in New York City.  She also managed his private office of 12 assistants and three doctors.  She retired in 1978.

When Phyllis and David were driving to Florida through Virginia, it came to her mind that she should someday live here among the Seven Hills because she came from the Seven Mountains on the Rhine River in Germany.  In 1986 she moved, with her husband, from New York City and the Hamptons, Long Island, NY to Forest, Virginia.

Phyllis was very active in community services including St. Francis Loyola Church, as well as the Riverside Church in New York City, where she served as vice president of Business and Professional Women’s Club; secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the South Hampton Hospital for four years; volunteered at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and South Hampton Hospital Geriatric and Publicity Departments while living in the Hamptons; secretary of the West Hampton Woman’s Club; on Auxiliary Board and volunteer of the Hampton Classics for South Hampton Hospital; Aviary Club of Virginia; Ivy Hill Ladies Association; L’Alliance Francaise of Lynchburg; member of Lynchburg Women’s Club; Jefferson Woman’s Club, where she was treasurer for four years; volunteer of community concerts; Lynchburg Fine Arts Theatre; Lynchburg Symphony; member of YWCA and YMCA; Red Cross blood bank volunteer, and volunteered at the Humane Society; and a member of Mountain View United Methodist Church since 1993.

Phyllis thought of everyone who needed something, whether it be food, clothing, articles of interest, etc. Her interests included music, animals, medicine, boating and travel. She traveled extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.

She leaves to cherish her memory cousins in Germany, as well as her church family, and a host of friends in the community. The Cornelius, Johnson and Petriskie families would like to thank everyone for loving Phyllis throughout the years.  Special gratitude to those who cared for Phyllis while she was a resident on The James River floor at The Summit.

Due to COVID restrictions a memorial service will be scheduled later.  In lieu of flowers please consider donating in her memory to Mountain View United Methodist Church, mailing address P0 Box 543 (1077 Viewpoint Lane) Forest, VA 24551 or the Lynchburg Humane Society, 1211 Old Graves Mill Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting.

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