Phyllis M. Erb, 85, of Grayling, Ann Arbor and Brooklyn, Mich. died Dec. 14, 2017 surrounded by her family.
She was most widely known as a pioneer in her field of wound care, teaching physicians and nurses at University of Michigan Hospitals and across the country. She often treated patients on her own time who could not afford to pay for the treatment they needed. She brought homemade food in to tempt patients who needed nutrition in order to heal. She was also a talented artist, and she co-hosted a bed and breakfast with Pat.
She was best known as that extraordinary person who raised the bar everywhere she went for loving extravagantly, and for living with real joy and an awareness of the beauty she saw around her, especially in nature and in people. It was like she had found another gear the rest of us had not discovered. When people met her, they never forgot her. Her family all knew the sound people made who hadn’t seen her in years: “PHYYYYLIIIS!” Their arms would fly outward to scoop her in. She inspired those around her to be happier, she invested more in the people around them, and she loved everybody from the chief of surgery units to the hospital’s night janitor. If you worked hard she respected you. She knew you, too, and she knew the things you did that made you special, the extra things you did that you didn’t have to do, what/who you loved. She seemed to see right through people, and usually saw people’s best selves. If she saw your flaws, she would very gently help you view the problem from a different perspective. Usually the problem was resolved right then, and for good. She made everyone she ever knew want to be a better person.
Everyone wanted to be with her because she was having more fun than anyone else, even when she was working her tail off – especially when she was working her tail off. She was revealing the secret then, move fearlessly toward big dreams. If you didn’t have big dreams, then find some! Reinvent yourself if you have to. Do that more than once in your lifetime if you can. Move like you could not fail – toward beauty and adventure. Especially, move straight toward people’s hearts, because that’s where the good stuff is.
There will be a celebration of life service at a later date.
She is survived by her lifelong partner, Pat Teal; and three generations of Teals who she considered her own; as well as her children, Peggy Williford, Scott Erb and Darcy (Jack) Campbell; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and countless loved ones. She will be missed by many.