Sylvia Lynn Gillis, beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend passed away, peacefully in her home, on Sunday, May 17, 2020 after a seven year battle with pancreatic cancer. Sylvia will be remembered for how much she loved her family, her compassion and generosity toward her friends, and also for her toughness and tenacity of spirit. Sylvia was born in San Benito, Texas on September 11, 1954. Growing up, Sylvia and her family moved all over the world, including a stop in Germany for high school, due to her father's Air Force career. They eventually settled in Flagstaff, AZ, the place she would always call home. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1975, completed a Masters in Art History at the University of Washington and earned her JD, graduating with honors from the Ohio State University Law School in 1989. Sylvia was a member of Bricker and Eckler LLC for the tenure of her legal career, starting as a legal assistant and ending as a full time partner. She was most proud of the relationships she formed with clients and how her work as a construction attorney helped people. Ahead of her time, she was also a trailblazer for working parents, becoming the firm's first part time partner before transitioning to a full time role. Sylvia loved the Southwest, and loved to travel with friends – sightseeing in Europe, cheering for Notre Dame or Navy at sporting events (her tailgates were legendary), or exploring National Parks. Indefatigable, she hiked the Grand Canyon, rim to rim to rim, during a break from chemotherapy. She also had a killer golf swing and a passion for art and architecture. As much as she loved her adventures she was also content to be home, curled up with a good book, watching westerns with her husband or hosting a fun dinner with friends. Sylvia knew life was a blessing and was determined to "live her dash" and get the most out of every minute. Sylvia will be deeply and profoundly missed by her loving husband of 43 years, Eric J. Tarbox; daughter, Rachel (Charles Duron) Tarbox; son, John Tarbox; parents, Robert W. and Juanita Gillis; sister, Ginette (Scott) Wooldridge; brother, John Gillis; nephews, Robert and James Wooldridge; and numerous friends and work colleagues. She is preceded in death by her brother Robert Gillis. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, friends honor Sylvia's memory by making a donation to support Dr. Bekaii-Saab's Pancreatic Cancer Research at the Mayo Clinic, 13400 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85259. A service will be held in Flagstaff at a later date.
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