Phyllis Jane Cody

January 8, 2022
Phyllis Jane Cody

Loving mother and grandmother, Phyllis Jane (Peterson) Cody, died peacefully at home January 8, 2022, after many years of a courageous struggle with failing health.

Phyllis was born to the late Hartvig and Effie Peterson, January 18, 1934, in Barhamsville, Va. She graduated from Toano High School in 1951 and married Lewis Cody in 1952 in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, in Norge, Va. In 1956 they started a family with the birth of their son, Steve, followed in 1958 with the birth of their daughter Cheryl. Shortly afterwards, the family began two tours overseas in Okinawa (1964 – 1967) and Panama (1971 – 1975). During this period Phyllis worked in several administrative capacities supporting the Department of the Army while overseas and the Central Intelligence Agency following their return to the states.

Upon Lew’s retirement from federal service in 1979, they returned to James City County. It was then Phyllis was selected to become James City County’s first Citizens Assistance Officer and established the county’s Satellite Office located in the Emergency Operations Center in Toano in August 1979. One of the first of its kind in the state, the office provided access to most county services, alleviating the need for citizens from the upper county to travel to the county government center. For the next 20 years, until her retirement in 1999, Phyllis expanded the support the office provided. During her tenure, she developed and coordinated the Clean County Commission, served as a member of the county’s Communications staff, was the county staff representative to the Colonial Services Board as well as the first administrative officer of the Historical Commission, published the James City County Citizen’s Guide, helped sponsor Local Government Days at Lafayette High School, and served as coordinator for the county’s first Highway Beautification Program.

Phyllis had been an active member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church serving as an officer in many capacities and more recently a member of the Open-Door Bible Study at the Williamsburg Community Chapel.

Phyllis was predeceased by her husband, Lewis, in 2005. She is survived by her son, Steven E. Cody and wife, Jayne, of Manassas, Va.; her daughter, Cheryl L. Estancona and husband, Craig, of Stafford, Va.; granddaughters, Eryn Cody Cropanese and husband Christopher, and Chelsea Estancona, and grandson, Bryan Cody, and her brother, Harvey Peterson, and wife, Meg, of Blacksburg, Va.

The family will have a private committal service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to James City County Rescue Squad, 3135 Old Forge Rd. Toano, VA 23168 or the National Kidney Foundation, 503 Libbie Ave., Ste. 1A, Richmond, VA 23226.

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  • January 12, 2022
    Jane Williams says:
    Always enjoyed spending time with Aunt Phyllis and remembering earlier days. She was fun to be with and quite an endearing person. I have such fond memories of her and Uncle Lewis. She will be missed

  • January 13, 2022
    Justo Velez says:
    The best we can hold onto at times like this, are the collection of good memories. Cheryl and family will have an abundance to reflect on. Phyllis has provided the family with comfort through these memories. She now has her heavenly wings to watch over them all. Please know that we are with you with thoughts and prayers. Solo, Leslie, Vanessa, Jason and Selena

  • January 17, 2022
    Lori Roche says:
    I can still see your mom’s beautiful smile when she would come to pick you up at Clayton stables. You were blessed.

  • January 22, 2022
    Chelsea Estancona says:
    On Saturday January 8, I lost my Grandma Phyllis. She was 87 (a week shy of 88) and had struggled with dementia, so this goodbye has come in waves. I know that remembering and celebrating her will, as well. My many friends who knew her and loved her can attest to her gifts. She was fun. She encouraged make-believe, goofiness, and holding on to childhood and innocence. Visiting Grandma and Grandpa never got old as a kid - and it wasn’t just the plate of brownies she always had waiting. She was strong, capable, and so incredibly stubborn in the best way. She did everything herself until she couldn’t: cleaning the fish my Grandpa Lew caught, taking care of him when he was so sick, even climbing up ladders to clean after a hurricane, by herself, in her 70s, after promising me she wouldn’t (see above re: stubborn). She had her own career with the CIA and later the County but somehow also did everything for everyone. She loved all of God’s creation. Her two greatest joys were the outdoors - the ocean, the mountains, the simple creek behind the house in the woods - and people. The woman could talk to anyone. She could be kind to anyone. Sometimes, it became a joke: like when she quite literally out-talked the Mormon missionaries at the house. But it was her greatest gift and her way of living out the second of the great commandments. Nobody loved their neighbor quite as well as Phyllis did. She loved Jesus the way I can only aspire to. For her, faith was a relationship, not something held to an ideal. It was real, complete, and expressed through love. I loved her so much. She’s the best person I’ve ever known. Sometimes, people will say I remind them of her, and it’s the greatest compliment I can think of. I’ll never stop trying to earn it.