Carolyn Phillips Oliver died at her Columbia home Sept. 29, 2020. The cause was glioblastoma multiforme. Her children and grandchildren were with her throughout, as were her many friends and nieces whose visits, calls and letters of love and prayers kept her spirits lifted on what was a difficult journey. Excellent hospice care, for which the family is most grateful, eased her passing.

Born April 30, 1935, in Jefferson City, Carolyn was the daughter of William and Mary Alyce Phillips. Her family soon moved to Springfield, where she spent her childhood. Carolyn graduated from St. Agnes High School and thereafter enrolled at Drury University, where she pledged Pi Beta Phi; later transferring to MU. There she went on a doubtful blind date and yet fell in love with David A. “Art” Oliver. Their earthly marriage spanned 56 years.

Carolyn was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her sister, Mary Susan Oberg. She is survived by her son, David A. Oliver Jr., of Houston; daughter, Anne Oliver Bearden, of St. Louis; and grandchildren, David A. Oliver III, Camren Roy Oliver, Audrey Renee Bearden and Olivia Anne Bearden.

Carolyn was prominent among the civic and charitable organizations to which she volunteered her time over the decades. Those organizations included the *Ruth Major Circle of the King’s Daughters through which she served on the Dental Aid Board, the Philanthropic Educational Organization and the Columbia Art League. It was Carolyn’s wish that in lieu of flowers or the like that donations be made to one of these wonderful organizations.

Carolyn worshiped at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where a mass will be held for her, circumstances permitting, at 1 p.m. Oct. 29, 2020. Attendees are asked to abide by those measures recommended by the Health Department. Carolyn’s earthly remains will be interred next to her husbands in Fruitland at a later date, and the family hopes to host a celebration of her life sometime in 2021.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at

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