Phyllis Lee Spier

September 3, 2023

CHARLOTTE – After a multi-year journey with dementia, and with her husband at her bedside holding her hand, Phyllis Lee Spier passed peacefully into the immediate presence of her Lord and Savior on Sunday, September 3, 2023.  She handled this cruel illness with beauty, grace, dignity and a deep faith.

Phyllis entered this world on March 12, 1935 in Albany, GA. The first-born daughter of Mary Frances Hickey Lee and Zachry Taylor Lee, she spent her early years in Albany with her parents and three younger sisters, graduating from Albany High School in 1953.

Phyllis entered the University of Georgia, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  She was an active and devoted member of Phi Mu sorority. During her sophomore year, and arranged by one of her sorority sisters, she had a blind date with a young man by the name of Bill Spier.  Despite the fact this was the Georgia/Georgia Tech football game (Phyllis was not a football fan), and it rained the entire game on her new outfit and matching hat (Bill was not a fan of the hat), it was a rousing success as they continued to date only each other throughout their remaining college days.  Upon graduating, Phyllis accepted a teaching position in Brunswick, GA. and shared a beach house with two of her sorority sisters in nearby St. Simons Island.

Phyllis and Bill were married in Albany at First Methodist Church on August 23, 1958.

Immediately after their wedding, they moved to Edgewood, Maryland where Bill finished his military service at the Army Chemical Center.  She taught school there and in Wilmington, DE where Bill had accepted a position with Atlas Chemical Industries.  After a year in Wilmington, they were transferred to Charlotte.

During their early years in Charlotte, Phyllis taught multiple grades at Dilworth Elementary School.  After several years of teaching, she “retired” to start a family.  In 1963, daughter Fran was born.  Phyllis was a wonderful, supportive, and loving mom who often put her own interests on the back burner to support Fran’s interests.  She volunteered in many areas that Fran was also involved in – the Charlotte Nature Museum, PTA, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and Girl Scouts (just to name a few!).

Later, when Fran went away to college, Phyllis returned to teaching – this time teaching four- year-old preschool.  She absolutely loved “her babies” and always said that, “four year olds are the most interesting little people.”  Phyllis was a gifted and loving teacher who positively impacted the lives of so many students and families throughout her career.

As a long-time member of Myers Park United Methodist Church, she felt called to share her gifts and talents with many different committees, Bible studies, and ministries of the church.  She possessed a gift for deep listening and caring for others and felt particularly called to serve as a Stephen Minister, fully committing herself to the study and preparation to be commissioned to serve in that way.  She also shared her God-given gifts for care and hospitality by serving on Care Teams, the Martha Circle, the Labyrinth Committee, and the Hospitality Committee.  She and Bill delivered Friendship Trays for a number of years, nourishing the recipients of those meals both in body and soul.  They were members of the Wesley Sunday School Class for more than 60 years where they made dear and lifelong friends.

Throughout their marriage, Phyllis and Bill enjoyed their vacation home at Holden Beach. NC together and with family and friends.  Beautifully decorated by Phyllis, it was always a welcoming space.  In keeping with her ongoing, never-ending desire to give back, Phyllis and Bill started a food ministry at Holden Beach in 2005 wherein leftover food was collected from departing vacationers and distributed to needy families in Brunswick County.  The concept spread to other vacation areas up and down the East Coast as well as inland to such places as ski resorts in the West.

Phyllis was an avid reader.  She had an eye for beauty and created beautiful homes for her family through her gifts for interior decorating and gardening.  Many relied on these skills and for her wisdom and grace.  She loved her family, friends, church, traveling, and dancing.

Phyllis is survived by her husband of 65 years, William Spier, Jr.; her daughter, Frances Spier Saylor and her husband, Scott Martin Saylor; grandsons, Adam William Saylor and his wife, Bettina Roden Saylor of Laurel Springs, NC and Hartman Lee Saylor and his wife, Charlotte Jones Saylor of Durham, NC and one great-grandson, Emmanuel Roden Saylor.  Also surviving is her sister, Karen Lee Davis and her husband, Daniel Davis, several nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.  Phyllis was preceded in death by her sisters, Lynda Frances Lee and Mary Lee Johnson.

A celebration of Phyllis’ life will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC.  The family will receive friends in Jubilee Hall following the service.  The service will be livestreamed at: for those unable to attend in person.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at

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  • Kathy Highsmith

    Such a great friendship and kind hospitality were shared with Bill and Phyllis during my years in Charlotte. I so enjoyed our Bible study time together at MPUMC as well as the many times we visited, laughed, and ate meals together. Truer friends could not be had, a rare find. Thank you for the wonderful memories of those times, and I pray God’s Blessings on all of the family now and in the future. I will be with you in spirit, as I watch the service online from Salem, Virginia. May you feel God’s presence and peace. Kathy Highsmith

  • Nneka Agu

    Ma Phyllis was a wonderful lady and i was privileged in assisting her with care service. She was generous at heart and my kids misses her token of gifts for their sweet tooth! Words can't express the vacuum left, my sincere condolences to the entire family.

  • Lynette Dudley

    Wonderful lady, who helped to create an equally wonderful, loving daughter. Sorry very sorry for your loss!
    Love, Lynette