Rima Blair (Novin) Phillips

May 22, 2024


Rima Blair (Novin) Phillips, 92, passed away on May 22nd in New Jersey of complications associated with a fall. She was surrounded by family at the time of her death.

Born in New York in 1931, Rima enjoyed a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and beauty. She was raised in the United Workers Cooperatives, known as the Coops, in the Bronx, where she made lifelong friends. Rima received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master of Education from Boston University.

In the early 1970s Rima moved to Santa Monica, California, where she first worked as a real estate agent, then for Hughes Aircraft Company. While working at Hughes she attended classes at UCLA to learn how to use punch cards to program some of the first computers. She was part of the Los Angeles folk music scene, playing guitar and mandolin at weekly “hoots.”

After retiring, Rima spent many years in Port Townsend, Washington, where she was active in both civics and the arts. It was here she rekindled her love of beading, something she learned at a very young age on a small loom she bought at her neighborhood candy store. She created fanciful, intricate necklaces, worked with polymer clays, and used traditional and non-traditional materials to weave uniquely beautiful baskets. She was both a master practitioner and a mentor to other artists.

Rima spent her last decade at Meadow Lakes in East Windsor, New Jersey. She was the copy editor of the Meadowlark newsletter for many years, and taught numerous classes on beading and polymer clay. In 2021 she organized the creation of a permanent art installation of 1000 origami cranes for Meadow Lakes. She was artistically, intellectually and socially active throughout her years in New Jersey.

Rima liked to surround herself with art and beauty, and always had a distinctive style. Some of her greatest pleasures were going to dinner with friends, drinking wine, of course, eating chocolate. Rima had a talent for making friends, and loved to laugh with them. She had many achievements during her lifetime, the most important being a loving and much-loved mother.

Rima is survived by her daughters Karen Richardson, Katherine Siljestrom, and Nina Dwyer and her son David Blair, and her grandchildren Ben Richardson, Adam Richardson, Andrew Dwyer, Timothy Dwyer, Dillon Dwyer, Colby Siljestrom and Kayla Siljestrom, and great grandchildren Valaya Dwyer, Bellamia Dwyer, Valantina Dwyer, Tensley Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, Alexander Dwyer, Anna Dwyer, Theodore Dwyer, Levi Siljestrom, Finn Siljestrom, Olive Siljestrom and Tripp Heisler.

Rima was sharp as a tack until the very end, and will be missed in many places and by many people. Her friends were numerous and her family large.

She leaves a space in all our hearts.