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Phyllis McGovern, 92

Phyllis McGovern of Westport, a well-known resident and real estate broker, died April 24.  She was 92.

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Phyllis McGovern: well known Realtor. Contributed photo

A wonderful wife, mother, friend, party host and business woman, she was born in New York City on July 21, 1927 and grew up on upper Riverside Drive in the same apartment building as Babe Ruth. 

She graduated from the High School of Music and Art and NYU after which she worked at a New York advertising agency.

She met her husband of 56 years, Peter McGovern, longtime CBS broadcasting publicist, writer and friend for the late comedian Jackie Gleason, and later chronicler of Westport life and events for several local newspapers, who died in 2005.

Phyllis’ parents were Beatrice Livingston Bien and noted New York architect Sylvan Bien who, among countless apartment and office buildings throughout the East Coast, had designed the famed Hotel Carlyle on 76th Street and Madison Avenue built in 1930. 

She was the sister of the architect Robert L. Bien who was partner for many years at Eggers & Higgins, a design innovator in the use of “white brick” façades in the 1960s New York skyline, until his death in 2002. 

Phyllis was also the niece of famed Pan American Airways pioneer clipper flying boat pilot, Edwin C. Musick, a leading trail-blazer of commercial aviation in the 1920s and 1930s and contemporary of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. 

As a little girl she had spent summers with Captain Musick and her Aunt Cleo in Miami, Florida in the 1930s, and witnessed first hand the birth of passenger flying service at the Dinner Key Terminal. 

Phyllis and her husband moved to Westport in 1952 to raise a family. She started her career in real estate in the 1970s and was a director on the Westport/Weston Board of Realtors and one time chairperson of their Ethics Committee. 

Among her industry honors, she was named Realtor of the Year, and had sold homes to numerous families and celebrities over her 40-year career.

Many of her clients remained life-long friends and hosted annual Fourth of July parties at her Bluewater Hill home and at Compo Beach. She and Pete loved the fireworks and the celebration of the country. 

Phyllis was a lover of books, art, architecture, and New York City and Westport culture and participated in many local events to include volunteering on the Westport Bicentennial Celebration Committee. 

She was a supporter and friend with many local artists who lived in Westport in the 1950s and 1960s and retained a sizable collection of their work.

Phyllis will be lovingly remembered by her family, Josephina and Scott McGovern, Norwalk; Paula and Michael McGovern, and her three grandchildren, Jillian 17, Christopher and Conner 13, Port Chester, New York.

Services will be private, but all memorial donations may be made in Phyllis’s name to the Westport Library, where she and Pete considered it as their second home.  You can also submit online condolences – Book of memories at https://www.hardingfuneral.com.

Phyllis’ favorite book was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” and it always sat at her bedside table.  She thought it was the best American book ever written and was always moved by its ending … “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

Phyllis will be missed.

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