Nancy Phillips




Born: 1940
Death: December 30, 2014

Nancy Phillips found peace on December 30, 2014 after a long illness with breast cancer. She was 74. Nancy was born in Plainfield, New Jersey to Kay and Otto Phillips. She grew up in Dallas, Texas and Tucson, Arizona, graduated from Texas Women’s College with a design degree, and found a rewarding career in interior architecture design. After working and gaining experience with architectural firms in Texas, she took a job with Herman Miller in Zeeland, Michigan. There she met Steve Frykholm; they were married in 1973. This began a lifelong partnership full of love, adventure, friends, and a continuing exploration of good design in all its dimensions. After a few years designing office and healthcare environments with Herman Miller, Nancy opened her own design office and designed interiors for law, insurance, and real estate firms; health care facilities; education facilities; retail businesses; and several homes in West Michigan. Her love of horses and design connected in her consulting work on several stables. She put her design talent into personal projects as well – renovating and designing the interior of their mid-century home in the mid-1970s, designing their private boarding riding stable with an indoor and outdoor arena, and grooming trails on the same rural property in the mid-1980s, and recently designing a downtown Grand Rapids condo where she lived with Steve for the past year and a half. Often Nancy and Steve collaborated on Nancy’s design work or Steve’s graphic design work for Herman Miller or personal projects. They shared a real passion for and commitment to good design. They were each other’s best critics and steadfast fans. Their collective curiosity knew no limits. Nancy and Steve enjoyed each other’s love and company and took long and wonderful trips together – a ride across the USSR into Outer Mongolia in 1986 on the Trans Siberian Express; New Zealand and Australia for six weeks in the early 1990s on several horse treks and traveling throughout both countries; a walking safari in Zambia in 1994; and a three-week jaunt in several cities in China in 2010, including a couple of nights in a hotel having a private entrance in a section of the Great Wall. Shorter excursions included France, Mexico, Austria, Canada, Spain, Italy, Japan, and England, and several U.S. National Parks and cities. They also enjoyed reunions with their siblings and in-laws. Nancy is survived by Steve and her sister, Susan Phillips (Swetlick), a retired musician and piano teacher living in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Other family members include her in-laws, Bob and Marilyn Frykholm of Buena Vista, Colorado; Sue (Frykholm) and David Gitch of Poulsbo, Washington; and Allan Swetlick of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Nancy found love and great joy in her dressage riding and horse husbandry. A broad smile and a boost to her spirit were often the result of competing in or practicing dressage at the weekend clinics she often managed or trail rides through her 100 acres of land in Belmont. So that others can have their own experience and smiles unlike no other, donations in Nancy’s memory may be given to the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, 3777 Rector Avenue Northeast, Rockford, MI 49341. Nancy and Steve also loved the cats and dogs in their barn and homes, sometimes taking better care of them than themselves. Nancy could spot a lost dog from 100 yards or more and would often stop the car to see if she might help them find their way home. That is how a bumbling German shepherd named Pooch became one of her and Steve’s favorite pets. Nancy had some of the happiest times of her life surrounded by horses, dogs, and cats and working alongside her husband, groom, and stable boy Steve. So that other lost animals can find homes, donations in her memory can also be made to the Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534. There will be a visitation in the Carousel Gallery at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504 on Wednesday, January 14 from 4-7 PM. A private family funeral will be in Poulsbo, Washington at the Mountain View Cemetery in the spring.

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