Phyllis Pierson Macaulay, 89, of Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — Phyllis Pierson Macaulay, 89, died peacefully in the presence of family at The Residence at Otter Creek in Middlebury on January 31, 2023. Born in Hartford, Conn., she was the daughter of Louise (Wormeck) and Wilbur Pierson. Phyllis grew up in Hartford, Conn., and Albany, N.Y., and treasured her summers at the shore in Niantic, Conn., with her family and friends. Similarly, many of her favorite memories reached back to her teenage years at Memorial Baptist Church in Hartford and escapades with her friends in the Baptist Youth Fellowship.

As a young woman, she received a scholarship to attend Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. She was elected student body president in her senior year and graduated in 1955. Phyllis was always deeply grateful for her education.

Just a year before her graduation, Phyllis met John C. Macaulay (Jack) on a blind date. He was finishing up his medical training in Albany, N.Y., when they met. The following year they married and moved to Boston, where he was a research fellow. Soon thereafter they settled in Oneida, N.Y., and started a family and Jack’s pediatric practice.

They called Oneida home until 1982, when Jack’s career took them to Ithaca, N.Y., where Phyllis began working at the Day Care Council of Tompkins County. In retirement, they moved to Fayetteville, N.Y. Fayetteville allowed them to be closer to their children, grandchildren, and cherished friends in Oneida.

As a family, the Macaulays spent many Easter vacations in Vero Beach, Fla. Phyllis and Jack grew to see Vero Beach as a second home. Eventually becoming snowbirds — spending their summers in Fayetteville and their winters in Vero Beach.

Phyllis enjoyed gardening, playing bridge with friends, winter ski weekends and memorable family road trips. She was an accomplished pianist and made sure that her children took piano and other music lessons while they were young.

While her primary devotion was to her children and family life, Phyllis played an active role in the local communities where she lived. She volunteered her time and skills to endeavors such as the March of Dimes, Planned Parenthood of Madison County, Hazel Carpenter Home, Oneida Library Board, United Methodist Women, and Central New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She was also a member of the Twentieth Century Club, a current events discussion group; the Oneida Area Civic Chorale; and PEO, a women’s philanthropic organization. While in Vero Beach, she volunteered at church and with literacy initiatives in an elementary school.

Phyllis will be remembered for her nurturing spirit, her warmth and friendliness, always trying to put others at ease. Her generous hospitality extended from sharing her home with Hungarian refugees in the winter and spring of 1957 to her membership on the Welcome Committee at The Residence at Otter Creek sixty years later. In between she opened her home to long-term guests from near and far, at least five countries, several in connection with The Experiment in International Living. She maintained her social connections and her cheerful attitude, frequently speaking up about her good fortune in life even when discouraged. During a visit with her grandchildren and great- grandchildren last Mother’s Day, she remarked with great clarity, “I wish I could do it all again.”

Phyllis is survived by her brother, Wilbur Pierson and his wife Janet of Homosassa, Fla.; three children, seven grandchildren, and two great- grandchildren: children Laurel and Gus Jordan of Middlebury; John Macaulay and Marah Strauch of Pasadena, Calif.; Suzanne and Ralf Meyert of Henrietta, N.Y.; grandchildren Andrew and Kimberly Jordan; Katherine Jordan; Lindsay and Jonathan Willson; Kimberly Meyert, William and Piean Meyert; Alexandra Irene Ghaly Macaulay and John Cameron Ghaly Macaulay; and great grandchildren Henry and Daisy Willson.

The family wishes to thank the caregivers and staff at The Residence at Otter Creek and the kind and timely help of the Addison County Home Health and Hospice team.

Gifts in honor of Phyllis may be made to the “Sage Affordability Fund” at Russell Sage College, 65 1st Street, Troy, NY 12180 ( or Addison County Home Health and Hospice.

A memorial service will be held in the Founders Room of The Residence at Otter Creek at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 4. All are welcome. ◊


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