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Pauline Phillips may not have been internationally famous at any point in her life, but her “Ask Abby” advice column certainly was. Started in 1955 after she angrily phoned The San Francisco Chronicle’s editor about the paper’s horrible advice column and he challenged her to write her own, it eventually reached 110 million people a day in more than one thousand four hundred newspapers.
Formally trained in journalism, Phillips never thought of herself as a newspaper woman as much as a sensible wife, mother and grandmother who possessed a good sense of morals and plenty of common sense. She was married to her husband for more than seventy years, but for the last decade of her life, she battled Alzheimer’s and eventually turned over the beloved advice column to her daughter Jeanne.
Earlier this week, Phillips passed away at the age of ninety-four, a little more than ten years after her twin sister Esther, better known as advice columnist Ann Landers, succumbed to myeloma. Together, the women created empires with just a few paragraphs a day, and by all accounts, each was a lovely and generous woman who practiced everything she preached.
Pop Blend’s sincerest thoughts go out to the entire Phillips family in this time of need. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but because of her health problems and her long and fulfilling life, it sounds like now may have been the right time for Pauline to pass.
The next time you solicit advice, take a second to think fondly of Pauline. She brought comfort and wisdom to millions, and she will be missed.