Phyllis Joyce Hildebrand

Beloved mother and wife Phyllis Joyce Hildebrand (née Brenner), died peacefully, Thursday, April 28th, 2022. Phyllis was born in the Bronx, NY on November 20, 1927. She was the daughter of Sue and Jack Brenner and the sister of Gilbert Brenner. 


Phyllis graduated high school early, at 16 1/2, and began working in NYC and taking courses at City College of New York (now CUNY). She earned both an undergraduate degree and a Masters in Education. She taught elementary school in New York City before moving to Long Island, first to Miller Place and then to a home she helped design in Wading River, NY. There, she and her husband, Herb, raised two children, David and Laura. She taught adult learners to read and learn how to take civil service and GED exams at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) of Eastern Suffolk. This was important work for her. Phyllis was also proud to be an activist, working for peace and justice. Starting in 2017, Phyllis and her husband Herb spent most of their time in Denver, Colorado, near their son’s family. She missed the beach, trees, and her home on Long Island and returned as often as possible.


Phyllis loved so many things, but above all, peace, racial and economic justice, art and experiences of all kinds, humor, reading, and the unique humanity of people, especially children. Her favorite author was Toni Morrison.


She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Herb, her children, Laura (and husband David Houppert) and David (and wife, Margaret Woodhull), and her grandchildren, Sam, Camilla, and Nicholas. 


Phyllis was focused more than anything else on racial and economic discrimination, particularly of African Americans. In lieu of flowers, donations to any organizations redressing those issues would be most welcome. Of particular importance to Phyllis were the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund ( ) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (

Hildebrand Phyllis obit photo 2 300x225

7 thoughts on “Phyllis Joyce Hildebrand”

  1. David,

    I’m sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I remember meeting her before Covid, I believe an Easter celebration at your home with you and Margaret, and enjoying our conversation. Psychoanalysis was the topic…

    Rick M

  2. Dave and Laura.
    This picture of your mom is exactly as I remember her. What vitality! Her expression, full of kindness, humor, humility. A force like Phyllis does not just turn off. She’s there, in your memories and will stay front and center in your heart.

  3. Dear Dave, I remember your mom’s hospitality and generosity well. Her passions for peace and justice live on in you, my friend. I hope that all you shared will always be a blessing to you and your family.

  4. Beautiful tribute Dave to an amazing woman. My sympathies to you , your father, Laura and the whole family.

  5. Every meeting with Phyllis was an entertaining, stimulating, delight. I will never forget her spirit, intellect, and humor, not to mention her powerful sense of justice. What a well-lived life.

  6. Laura and Dave, I am very sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. She and you father we always very welcoming and kind to me in the times I spent at the Wading River house. I know you and your children must be heartbroken. I wish healing for everyone.

  7. Laura and Dave, I remember how kind and hip your mom was to all of us growing up in Wading River. I am so sorry for your loss. Please take care.

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