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Phyllis Teatum

February 18, 1931 — October 23, 2020

Phyllis Jean Teatum (Clifford), of Goshen, NY, formerly of Staten Island, NY, passed away peacefully under the care of hospice with her family by her side at home on Friday, October 23, 2020. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1931, Phyllis grew up in Gin Cove, Newfoundland, Canada until her family returned to Park Slope, Brooklyn in 1941. In 1952 she married her high school sweetheart, Michael J. Teatum and started a family. In 1960 they moved to Staten Island, NY before the Verrazano Bridge was erected . This home, in the heart of Great Kills, was where she raised her family. Her door was always open to friends and family and was the center of frequent celebrations where her piano playing filled the house with love and music. After a well-deserved retirement, Mike and Phyllis moved to an upstate Lake home in Yulan New York where they enjoyed the peace of the lake and traveled extensively. In 1995 she made Goshen, NY her home to be closer to family. Driven by a love of learning, while working full time, Phyllis enrolled in night school in pursuit of a college degree. She graduated from College of Staten Island in 1978 earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, Summa Cum Laude. In retirement she attended 38 Elderhostle adventures all across America and never stopped her lifelong love of learning new things. Prior to her retirement, Phyllis worked as a Payroll Secretary at Tottenville High School. In 1988 Phyllis earned the distinction of being recognized by the New York City Department of Education as School Secretary of the Year. She was also a member of the School Secretary Chapter of the United Federation of Teachers union. Phyllis was a voracious reader and lover of books. She could easily quote great literary works from memory as an occasion would warrant. A writer of poems and short stories, she delighted her children and grandchildren with works that featured them as characters in great adventures. In recent years, Phyllis was an active member of the Goshen Senior Center Book Club, participating in many a lively discussion. It was her upbringing in Newfoundland where she developed a love of, and expertise in, needlework and embroidery. Phyllis was a long-time member of the Embroiderers' Guild of America, Mid-Hudson Chapter. Additionally, she edited that EGA Chapter's newsletter for several years. Phyllis was also a highly skilled quilt-maker. A member of the Warwick Valley Quilters Guild for many years, her talents were appreciated and enjoyed by family and friends. Phyllis leaves her beloved husband Michael J. Teatum, her children, Marc Teatum and daughter-in law, Lisa Jacobowitz, Evan Teatum and partner Adrienne Cassanelli, her grandchildren, Emily Teatum, Athena Jacobowitz Teatum and Michael Teatum, and her brother, David Clifford. She was predeceased by her father William Clifford, mother Lily (King) Clifford and brother Stanley Clifford. Phyllis will be laid to rest in Warwick Cemetery. Those who desire may make donations to Doctors Without Borders, Public Television or HOSPICE of Orange & Sullivan- Team West. Funeral Arrangements and Cremation Care have been entrusted to Brendan T. Flynn and Thomas F. Flynn, Directors and Certified Cremation Specialists of Flynn Funeral & Cremation Memorial Centers, Inc. To offer an online memorial please visit

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