Darla (Koerselman) Phillips

January 30, 1968 ~ May 2, 2019 (age 51)


Darla Koerselman Phillips, 51, passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

Darla is survived by her husband, William Atlas Phillips, Jr; daughters, Lauren Phillips, Taylor Phillips; son, Cooper Phillips; brother, Dwayne Lee and wife Susan; brother, George Mosier and wife Kate; and aunts, Anne Vannoy and husband Jim, Carol Bohrer and husband David, Hailey Louise Gadberry, Rose Marie Menendez and husband Carlos; and uncles, John Lee Mosier and wife Shirley, Robert Koerselman.

She is also survived by her Sanford family; father & mother-in-law William Atlas Phillips and wife Betsy “Papa & Mema”; sister-in-law Beth Phillips Cox; brother-in-law Charles Phillips and wife Anna; brother-in-law Jamie Phillips and wife Oulayvanh; and numerous nieces and nephews who loved her dearly.

Darla was born to Richard and Morrie Koerselman in San Diego, California in 1968. After a few years of moving around with the Navy, their family settled in Goose Creek, South Carolina in 1976. Here, Darla grew up spending weekends at the beach with her brothers and friends and was an active member of the Rainbow Girls, a service-based youth organization that stems from the Freemasons.

After graduating from Goose Creek High School, Darla chose to attend Clemson to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. During her time at Clemson, she attended every home football game, was a charter member of Clemson’s Gamma Phi Beta sorority, and made some of her best friends and memories. She laid the groundwork to eventually raise 3 dedicated Clemson fans and a pseudo-Clemson fan husband. She met Will the summer of 1989 before her senior year, and she graduated in 1990 with plans to attend graduate school to attain her Masters in Nursing Education and start her career at Duke University Hospital-- which worked out perfectly, as Will was studying engineering a few miles away at NC State in Raleigh.

After working in several departments at Duke, she landed in the transplant department where she served as a Liver Transplant Coordinator for many years before being promoted to Director of Clinical Operations for Internal Organ Transplant. She held this position up until shortly before her passing, and loved her job, her colleagues, and the work they were able to accomplish for the benefit of their transplant patients.

Outside of work, Darla was very involved in the lives of her children. From several years as PTA President, to Booster Club Member, hosting prom dinners, cheering on little league & lacrosse games, and every activity in between, she always managed to “do it all”. She loved photography, scrapbooking with her friends, relaxing on the beach, and visiting new places each year with her family, and of course the annual trip to Clemson for a football game. Some of her children’s favorite memories with her include making peanut butter balls during the holidays, watching every Tom Hanks movie she saw on the TV guide, and rooting for the Tigers during good seasons and bad seasons.

The one thing she had to say about her experience with cancer was that when she died, she didn’t want people to say she lost her battle to cancer. Her feelings towards this can best be described by this Stuart Scott quote:

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 23rd at Duke University Chapel.  A visitation with family and friends was held Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Clements Funeral and Cremation Services in Durham.

The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Darla (Koerselman) Phillips, please visit our floral store.


May 4, 2019

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Clements Funeral and Cremation Funeral Service

Memorial Service
May 23, 2019

3:00 PM
Duke University Chapel

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