In Memoriam: Phyllis Costner Gillikin

Phyllis Costner Gillikin, 85, of Lincolnton, NC, passed away on the 25th of July 2015 after a long and brave battle with cancer.

She was born January 25, 1930, in Lincolnton, NC, the first of two daughters to the late Dr. Walter Costner and Margaret Gaffney Costner. Phyllis graduated from the University of North Carolina 1951 with a degree in Education, followed in 1968 with a Masters of Library Science with an emphasis in hospital librarianship from Emory University.

Her first professional library position was at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, Virginia. In 1976 she became extension librarian at Bowman Gray School of Medicine Coy Carpenter Library in Winston Salem, becoming a leading force in starting the new Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) being developed in North Carolina. In 1978, Phyllis became the Director of the Northwest AHEC Regional Resource Network encompassing seventeen counties. The network linked 26 community hospitals, seven mental health centers, two state institutions, HMOS, long term care facilities and colleges with health professional training programs. In 1980, she became the Northwest AHEC Library Director and Coordinator of the 17 county Library Information Network (LINK), located in Hickory, serving as Coordinator of the program until her retirement in 1994.

Phyllis was very active as a member of the Medical Library Association and its Hospital Library Section, serving in several leadership roles throughout the organization. For the Hospital Library Section, she served as Secretary (1983) and Section Chair (1988).  Phyllis also served on the MLA Nominating Committee (1985 and 1991), and chaired the Executive, Membership, Program, Bylaws, and Nominating Committees.  She also served as Chair of the MLA Ad hoc Committee on the Position of Hospital Libraries.  In addition, Phyllis served as Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of MLA, and was a charter member of both the Association of North Carolina Health and Science Libraries (ANCHASL) and the Southeastern Conference of Hospital Librarians.

Based on her forethought and accomplishments, the Friends of the National Library of Medicine presented Phyllis with the Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award in 1994. That same year she received the National AHEC Directors’ Association first annual award for Excellence in Learning Resources and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s first annual Librarian of the Year Award.

An avid gardener and bridge player, Phyllis will be missed by her family and friends on the East Coast, the West Coast and Hawaii. Her work allowed her to make lasting friendships all over the country. After retiring, her friends in Nevada and North Carolina were a source of support and delight for her.

Phyllis is survived by her son Walt, his wife Taryn, and their twin sons Blake and Tyler, by her son David and his partner Mike, and by her sister Peggy Costner Lee, her husband Steve, and her son Beau, his wife Angie and their daughter Jessie.

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