Phyllis Addison Pollack
Jan. 3, 2011
Phyllis Addison Pollack, master flower arranger who created artistic floral designs for the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, the Arts Guild of Sonoma and many private galleries, offices and homes, died peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 3, 2011. She was 91.
Born Phyllis Joyce Addison in Victoria B.C., Canada, in 1919, she studied and excelled in ballet at a young age. In 1939, she left home to perform with the Taynton Dancers, a ballet troupe within the traveling Marcus Show. After residencies in Los Angeles, Mexico City at the Palacio de Belles Artes and Havana, the troupe disbanded and Phyllis remained in Havana to dance as a soloist with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, which had gone on strike during the war. It was there she met her husband, Robert S. Pollack, a Cornell University medical student studying tropical diseases on a summer fellowship. They returned to his hometown of New York City and were married until his death 62 years later.
The Pollacks moved to San Francisco in 1948 and settled in Hillsborough where they raised four children. Phyl was president of the PTA many times and was on the board of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations in the '60s and '70s. She was a generous supporter of the arts and women in politics and was a longstanding member of Ikebana International, the Democratic Party, the Women's Hospital Auxiliary, the League of Women Voters and the Metropolitan Club.
Phyl enjoyed primitive art as well as contemporary art and was trained as a docent at the DeYoung Museum. She traveled to numerous countries with her husband, who was a visiting surgeon and professor. They explored all the European countries as well as Australia, American Samoa, Brazil, Central America, Hong Kong, Fiji, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Guinea, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Russia and Turkey.
Phyl and her husband retired to Sonoma in 1985 where she continued to be involved with artistic endeavors and the community.
Known for her elegance and theatrical style, Phyllis is survived by four children, a son "R" Addison of Wyoming; three daughters, Gwenda Joyce, of Sonoma, Victoria Addison Rowe, of Santa Fe, Phyllis Addison-Foster, of San Rafael; and six grandchildren.
Contributions in her honor may be made to Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. There will be a celebration of her life at the museum on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m.