Cora Mae Phillips

Dec 30, 2012

A Special Lady

CANTON — Cora Mae Worley Phillips of Canton passed away Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, on the eve of a holiday that was always so very special to Cora Mae. A native and lifelong resident of Haywood County, she was the daughter of the late Andy Marvin Worley and the late Lula Lee Rhea Worley.  In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, former Canton Mayor Robert Milton Phillips, who passed away July 25, this year; and her grandson, Alexander Chase Giezentanner-Phillips, who passed away in 1996. Extremely proud of her Haywood County heritage, she was a great-granddaughter of Haywood County settlers and Civil War veterans, Mitchell Luke Worley and Stephen Morgan Redmond.

Mrs. Phillips was a graduate of Canton High School and received a degree in secretarial science from Cecil’s Business School in Asheville. She later continued her education at Asheville-Biltmore College. She was the secretary to the personnel manager of Champion Paper and Fiber Company for a number of years and later retired as an instructor with Haywood Community College – Continuing Education Department, after 27 years of service. An accomplished artisan, she was proficient in pinecone craft, pine needle basketry, chair caning, rug braiding, rug hooking, stained glass art, antique furniture restoration, sewing, tailoring, and piano.  In addition to her crafts, she enjoyed bridge, gardening, and she was a former golfer.

Cora Mae passionately gave her enthusiasm and leadership to many organizations and enjoyed serving the members of her community in any way that she could. She was a former member of the Canton Welfare Board (secretary), the Canton Draft Board during World War II (secretary), the Canton Chapter of the American Red Cross Board, the Haywood County PTA Council (president), the Canton Business and Professional Women’s Club (president), the Canton Homemakers Club (president), the Haywood County Salvation Army Board, the Haywood County Hospice Board, the Canton Educational Foundation Board, the Canton Garden Club (president), and the Haywood County Fair Board.  She was a founding member of the Canton Historic Commission and was an emeritus member of the Commission.  Cora Mae was a member of the Robertson Memorial YMCA Board of Directors and was later elected chairman of the board, the first female to hold that position, which she held for two consecutive terms. She was a former member of the Haywood County Hospital Board of Trustees, and along with her husband was honored as Philanthropist of the Year for Haywood County in 2004.

She and her husband, Bob, were very interested in our local culture and its preservation. They were both members of the Rough Creek Cloggers for 25 years. They enjoyed the team, its members, and the musicians that accompanied them. The group traveled locally and internationally to show the talent of Western North Carolina dancers, in hopes that the traditions would continue through future generations.

Mrs. Phillips was a very active and dedicated member of Canton Central United Methodist Church. She was a member of the United Methodist Women (president), was a member of the Rowe Henry Sunday School Class, and was a long time member of the altar guild.

Cora Mae Worley Phillips was truly a lady of elegance and grace. While a life well lived may be measured by our contributions and achievements, it is our compassion, humanity and personal talents that fuel the fond memories of those that we leave behind.

Her survivors include her son, Martin Andrew (Marty) Phillips, and his wife, Joy Giezentanner Phillips, of Canton; her granddaughter, Ariana Jacqueline Giezentanner-Phillips, of Canton; her sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mulvaney Jr., of Canton; and her niece, Lee Anne Mulvaney Fish, and her husband, Randy Fish, of Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The Phillips family wishes to extend an invitation to family and friends to join them for a celebration of Cora Mae’s life with a visitation and reception to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at Crawford / Ray Funeral Home in Canton.

Memorials may be made in Cora Mae’s memory to Canton Central United Methodist Church, 34 Church St., Canton, NC 28716.

Crawford / Ray Funeral Home is honored to be caring for the Phillips family.  Words of comfort may be shared at

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