Caitlyn “Caity” Rose Phillips, 13, of Elburn, died tragically on Friday, April 26, 2013. Taken from us too early, Caitlyn now lives on in heaven as one of God’s favored angels. Her memory, a shining example of compassion and love, lives on in our hearts and will never be forgotten.
She was born Jan. 21, 2000, in Geneva. A full two months early, Caity was small but mighty. She proved she had an uncommon strength of spirit, defying the doctors’ pessimistic expectations, and she came home a mere week after she was born. This would be a trait that Caity displayed throughout her life, leaving a lifetime of impressions in 13 short years.
Caity attended Kaneland schools, albeit begrudgingly, but excelled at the social aspects of school life. Many were lucky to call her a friend.
As a baby, no one could foretell the amazing energy and zest for life Caity would display in later years as she napped fitfully with her uncle Kenny. That bundle of joy became a force to be reckoned with and a delight to behold. She rode dirt bikes and flew over jumps as well as any boy, let alone the laps she took with her go-cart (complete with “Caity pedals” fashioned by dad so her feet could reach).
No matter the temperature of the water, Caity was part fish and swam like a champ, even when it was cold, her lips were purple and she couldn’t stop shaking. Caity loved boating and riding jet skis with her family, skimming over the water of several lakes and rivers.
She was a “flyer” in cheerleading, jumping and tumbling with her hair flying wild, only to land with grace and the biggest smile you ever saw. She went rock climbing for her 13th birthday and explored the streets of Elburn on her roller blades. She loved bouncy houses and made unforgettable YouTube videos with friends on how to do nails, how to make-up after an argument and often sang as Justin Bieber. It had no followers, but it was infamous just the same.
Caity never had just one sweet tooth as all of them were “sweet.” Aunt Becky’s chocolate eclair cake, cotton candy (legend has it Caitlyn ate five in one sitting at Golden Corral), Mondo drinks, untold numbers of ‘smores eaten with friends next to a bonfire so big it shut off the street lights, and many other treats, were enjoyed to the fullest and at every opportunity.
If Caity loved sweets, they paled in comparison to the love she had for her family and friends. A mama’s girl, she always woke up a half-hour early each day so she could cuddle with mom before the day began. Dad wasn’t too far behind, either, as she loved riding on the mower with dad, and later when she was old enough to drive it, Caity took her nephew Noah for rides around the yard.
Caity was the official welcome wagon to all who came to the house. Her one-of-a-kind hugs were given with every ounce of strength she possessed, leaving many breathless and all astonished at their ferocity. She was the first to apologize and the first to volunteer for any activity, whether it was digging a hole with her dad or delivering dinner to her sister when she worked late (but you could count her out when it came to doing the dishes).
She only saw the ocean twice, but it was love at first sight, epitomized by her fondness of sea shells.
When it came to the art of “tie-dying,” there was none better. Caity also possessed the ability to recognize the beauty of God’s handiwork all around her, and to be thankful for the smallest blessing. She had a “pay it forward” spirit whose prayers were simple, but many and always heartfelt. Her friendship was one to be treasured.
She was strong-willed and a take-charge kind of girl—though some would say bossy—and was a champion of the underdog. If someone was being picked on, you wouldn’t want to underestimate “the little white girl from Elburn”. She was the perfect Girl Scout, and when it came to babies, you would have to search far and wide for someone more nurturing. Caity also had a special place in her heart for every kind of animal, from puppies, hamsters, birds, goldfish and rabbits to even bugs—none escaped her notice or her love. In short, Caity was one of God’s special gifts, and although we will never know why she had to leave us, we will be forever thankful for the memories she left us to treasure.
She will be missed by her parents, Crystal and Gary; two sisters, Jordan and Taylor Phillips; one nephew, Noah Phillips; maternal grandparent, Mary Bateman; paternal grandparents, Ted and Sally Phillips; several aunts and uncles, including Ted and Patti Phillips, Dan and Denise Phillips, Becky and Ken Stout; a “truck load” of cousins and a “village” of friends and neighbors who helped raise Caitlyn.
She is preceded by Crystal’s biological parents, Bob Howie and Cynthia Baranowski; as well as Crystal’s father, Glen Bateman; and one uncle, Bobby Howie.
Visitation will take place from 1 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, at Calvary West Church, 1600 Beta Drive, Sugar Grove. A funeral to celebrate her life will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 3, following a time of visitation from 10 to 10:45 a.m., also at the church. Rev. Russ Hurst, pastor of the church, will officiate, with interment to follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Caitlyn’s name. Checks may be made to the “Caitlyn Phillips Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. You can also deposit direct into an account set up in her name at Old Second Bank, 749 N. Main St., Elburn.
Memorial tributes may also be forwarded to the P.O. Box or on the web at www.conleycare.com. Arrangements were handled with care by Conley Funeral Home.