Sylvia Gibson Phelps, 58, died Saturday, November 8, 2008, at the Phelps family’s summer home in Paradise Valley, Montana. After a 19-month struggle with brain cancer, she passed away while surrounded by her family.
Together with her husband Joe, she was a founding director of Santa Monica’s The Phelps Group, one of California’s leading marketing communication agencies that offers public relations, advertising, promotions, and marketing consulting services for television, print, and Internet marketing. For years, while raising their two children, Douglas and Emilie, she held various positions in the agency, including those of accountant, proofreader, and mentor to many young mothers over the years.
A staunch conservationist, she led the agency’s sustainability efforts that included its investment in solar power – the solar energy system installed on the company’s building at Wilshire Boulevard and 9th Street accounted for 70 percent of the commercial solar panels installed in Santa Monica last year. The firm earned a Sustainable Quality Award Grand Prize in 2007.
Sylvie Phelps was a linguist, antique collector, violist with the Santa Monica Orchestra, and was a certified court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children going through the court system in L.A. County.
The family issued a statement that said in part: “Who you are shows in the things you love. Sylvie loved romantic comedies; the viola; bicycling to work; big dogs; small dogs if big dogs weren’t available; the grace, smell, and thunder of horses; clients who pay on time; good grammar; proper punctuation; the Palmer Method of handwriting; the lilt of French; Shaker furniture; subtle humor; puns; her numerous collections of little old things; blue jeans; and the ‘Big Sky’ state, Montana. Above all, she loved God, her family, and friends.
“Her favorite saying was by John Wesley: ’Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’ Sylvie did just that.”
Sylvie Phelps is survived by her husband Joe, daughter Emilie, son Douglas, sister Susan Jacob, cousin Doug Jeffrey, seven nephews, and seven nieces.
Condolences to the family may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Memorial contributions may be sent to UCLA Brain Cancer Research, c/o T. Cloughesy, M.D., 710 Westwood Plaza, Ste. 1-230, Los Angeles, CA, 90095.
On Tuesday, November 11, the Santa Monica City Council adjourned in memory of Sylvia Phelps, among others. A memorial gathering will be scheduled for January, the family said.