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MIAMI (CBS4)-Beverly Phillips made herself heard during her four terms as a Metro-Dade commissioner.

Even over the cacophony of all the commissioners, it was Phillips’ voice that would trumpet the loudest.

Known for her commitment to public service and no-nonsense style, Phillips died of natural causes in her Weston home on Wednesday, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. She was 83.

She was part of the so-called Golden Era of the county commission, said Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin, who served on the commission with Phillips.

“She served when we were implementing the Decade of Progress bond issue and building the transit and the park systems,” Ruvin said. “It’s when the country became the national model for metropolitan government.”

An Ohio native, Phillips studied political science at Northwestern University. She met Robert T. Phillips while doing graduate work in public administration at the University of Chicago. The two married and moved to Miami in 1956.

Phillips and her husband divorced in 1976, and Phillips became a single mother. That didn’t stop her for being a force for change in Dade County.

She fought for women’s and environmental issues — and against billboards on Interstate 95.

Ruvin called Phillips a woman of extreme integrity.

“She was very progressive in her thoughts,” he said. “She had strong environmental values.”

Phillips was elected to serve four terms. After losing a bid for re-election in 1988, she focused on her efforts with the YWCA of Greater Miami & Dade County.

Later in life, Phillips found a passion for art and travel, Jeff Phillips said. Her travels took her to Europe, Australia, Russia and China.

She also taught a class at Barry University.

A memorial service is planned for Aug. 6 at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)



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