By Daniel Priest
SPRINGFIELD – Flynn Campus Union is one of the busiest spots on the campus of Springfield College. Students will drop by to eat, study, socialize, and many swing by the Dunkin’ Donuts down stairs at least a few times a week.
Recently, the college lost one of it’s employees who made the Union such a welcoming place and a comforting spot to go on campus. Phyllis E. Bilton, who worked at the Dunkin’ Donuts, passed away on July 28th at the age of 83.
Per her obituary from MassLive.com, Bilton passed peacefully with her family by her side. She was born in Springfield and attended their schools and worked as a territory representative for Hallmark Cards for 25 years before retiring in 2002. It was shortly after that she found her way to Springfield College to start her retirement job working at the Dunkin’ Donuts.
“She was amazing, I’m so sad she’s gone,” said Hannah Lozano, a Criminal Justice Major who will be a senior in the fall. “She always knew my order and said hi to me in the morning, she always brightened my day.”
When talking to students who had gotten to know Bilton from their frequent trips to Dunkins, it’s obvious how much of an impact she left on every student she touched.
“Phyllis was very much a part of the Springfield College Community,” said Diara Vicedomini, an incoming junior in the PA program. “She was who people thought of when they thought Dunkin Donuts.”
Bilton did a lot more than listen to coffee orders and make breakfast sandwiches. She touched students with her energy, positivity, and ability to remember orders, which brought a smile to many faces.
“Every morning she never failed to put a smile on my face with her joyfully shouted ‘hello!’,” said Grace Berry, an incoming junior in the communications/sports journalism program.
“I would go to Dunkins’ every morning and she was always there. It got to the point where she remembered my order. She was a light on campus that I think we’ll all miss.”
Bilton has done a lot for current students, but alumni remember her too. Kevin Wall, who graduated last Spring, cannot forget the smile she used to bring with her everyday when she went to work.
“She always had the sweetest smile to brighten up your morning,” he said. “If she was taking your order, you were the most important thing to her for those 30 seconds. She enjoyed her job, the students, and the atmosphere on campus. She is loved and will be missed entirely by the Springfield College community.”
Bilton leaves behind her two children and four grandchildren. She was a gift to the school and the students and faculty. She loved her job, cared about the students, and made everyday better than the last. We all owe her a thank you.
There will certainly be a light missing on campus in the fall with Bilton gone, but the students and staff are here with love and support for her family now.
“My thoughts are with Phyllis’s family at this time,” said Vicedomini. “I hope they can see the outpouring of love that has come from her Springfield College family as well. Phyllis will definitely be missed in the fall.”