In Memory of Phyllis Goddard
It seems like only a few
weeks ago that I designed the article Phyllis Goddard wrote for us,
"William Spratling Hallmarks: A More Detailed Look at His Early
Hallmarks." It is with profound sadness that I now find myself
designing this page in memory of Phyllis, a truly inspiring presence; a
person of great integrity, kindness of spirit, passion, and unwavering
dedication to uncovering all there was to know about William Spratling,
his work, and his hallmarks.
Her support of MODERN SILVER
magazine and SilverForum, and her constant willingness to help other
collectors find answers to their questions about Spratling silver were
things I began to take for granted--she was always there when we
needed her. Phyllis passed away on January 2,
2004 from a virulent form of pneumonia. We miss her deeply!
Below are remembrances of Phyllis
members of SilverForum
Phyllis was a vibrant, enthusiastic, positive, dynamic, focused,
proactive, generous, kind and supportive person. There aren't enough
adjectives to describe her. Her favorite word was "fun."
Everything she did was done because she thought it was "fun" -
her collection, her web site, her book. She learned to do "techy"
things like digital photography, PowerPoint, web site creation and
administration, all because they furthered her passion for her Spratling
collection, and her desire to share what she knew with the collecting
public. That was how she had fun!
Phyllis' attention to detail was astonishing, as was her ability to
organize information. That is readily apparent on her web site. These
talents became even more obvious to me when I worked with her on her
book. She was always concerned with "getting it right,"
something I could well appreciate. But she was also always supportive of
the work of others, including mine.
She was taken from us too soon. I am glad that she was able to be a part
of the "new renaissance" of Mexican silver and the exhibition,
see her idea for a book come to fruition, self-publish it - and sell it
like hotcakes! I am sad that her latest idea - for a hands-on workshop
for collectors - was not realized.
She will be sorely missed.
Phyllis Goddard's untimely death is a great loss. As a recent and
modest Mexican silver collector, I have depended on Phyllis's web
site as a terrific educational resource. Her responses to inquiries on
SilverForum were always informative, and her recent books a great
contribution to our information and understanding. I agree with you,
though, that it was her generosity of spirit combined with her
knowledge, that made her extraordinary. She helped me acquire out of
print reference materials, and her warmth shone through our email
correspondence. Phyllis, we will miss you.
Phyllis was a great help to me many times. I contacted her personally
only 2 or 3 times, but she responded to questions I had on Silver Forum
many more times than that and always gave me a great feeling of relief
and assurance that "she knew her stuff". I loved the way she
looked for the truth in her research. She "knew" what you wanted
to hear, but she wanted her research to be valid and correct. She
was a wonderful person and such a resource to the Mexican silver
community especially to Spratling lovers. I don't know how we'll
get along without her. It is such a loss!
I had the opportunity to meet Phyllis and hear her lecture on her
beloved Spratling in San Antonio, Texas at the Maestros de Plata
exposition. I can only say that Phyllis surpassed the image I had
her in my mind's eye. She was a beautiful, warm and gracious woman who
"knew her stuff" and was open and giving in sharing it.
Her family was
so proud of her. That is a wonderful thing in itself that she was
by her peers and the Spratling Silver world, but even more loved by her
family. She related the story of how she began collecting Spratling and
it brought it all home to me because when a family can share a love of a
collection, it makes it all the more special.
I join all members of this community in mourning the loss of a wonderful
woman and a great Silver Historian.
The news about Phyllis upset me also although I can't say I knew her
personally. As soon as her book came out, I ordered it immediately
mentioned how I felt so ignorant about trying to acquire a true
Spratling item for my personal collection. She didn't simply
my order, she wrote me a short encouraging note with a very friendly
tone to it and made me feel as though
I were an old friend of hers. I thought she would be around for a
time yet to help and advise others who share her love for Mexican
silver. Once again we are reminded that no one knows what tomorrow
holds for any of us. In my mind I imagine her now sitting
Spratling to ask him all those unanswered questions she had!
She was one of those people that you genuinely liked.
was a consummate "lady". I loved the fact that she
was always willing to learn. I remember meeting her in LA.
She marveled at a Dirk VanErp silverplate bowl. The bowl was
DVE, the son. The similarity to this bowl & Spratling's style
was remarkable. I didn't even notice it until she pointed it out.
She will sorely be missed.
What a loss and tremendous shock to hear of Phyllis' passing. I
had just sent her an email this last week. She was an incredible
person and she will be sorely missed.
Phillis was such a lovely woman. We met at Pasadena &
Hillsboro shows over 20 years ago. I always saved the Spratling for
her. In recent years,
I noticed that she was always helping people. Such a wonderful woman
will be missed.
Goddard was one of those rare individuals who's enthusiasm and passion
for learning was matched by her willingness to share her
knowledge. I miss her terribly. Her Field Guide truly
is a labor of love. I look at it virtually every day and it is a
constant reminder to me how important she was in my life.....as a
friend and as a teacher.
Photograph of Phyllis Goddard courtesy of Christie Romero
Copyright © 2004 Modern Silver Magazine