A Texas grandmother named Gracie Lou Phillips died on Monday just four days after voting for the first time ever

By Robyn Merrett
November 06, 2018 09:09 PM
Courtesy Leslie Moore

After staying away from the polls her entire life, an 82-year-old Texas grandmother voted for the first time last week.

On Monday, just four days after accomplishing her life long goal, Gracie Lou Phillips died, according to NBC 5.

At the time of her death, Phillips was transitioning to hospice care at her home in Grand Prairie, Texas and had been battling pneumonia, the outlet reported. She reportedly died in her sleep surrounded by family.

Despite her recent health setback, Phillips was determined to participate in the 2018 midterm elections. “She finally registered to vote for the first time in her life,” Phillips’ granddaughter Michelle Phillips told NBC 5.

“She kept telling everybody ‘I’m voting. I’m going to vote this year and my vote counts,'” Michelle said.

For the big day, Phillips, who voted early, brought her portable oxygen tank with her. “Poll people were very kind. They met her out at her car,” Michelle told NBC 5.

“To have someone literally need oxygen to breathe, pure tank of oxygen to breathe, put it in her car and ask to go on what may very well be the last week of her life, that shows the dedication and priority that people need to look at,” Michelle said.

In a video taken after Phillips casted her first ballot, she can be seen beaming with excitement, proudly holding her “I Voted Today” sticker. At the end of the video she said, “I voted today.”

Phillips’ other granddaughter Leslie Moore told TIME, Phillips always valued voting.

“She thinks that everybody has a voice and their political opinions should be heard,” Moore told the magazine.

Gracie Lou Philipps
Courtesy Leslie Moore

At just 15 years old, Phillips got married and became a mother of seven children. Her husband, who passed away 11 years ago, feared that if he and Phillips registered to vote, they would be forced to serve jury duty, TIME reported.

At the time, the couple couldn’t afford to miss work as they wouldn’t be able to take care of their children, so voting didn’t seem like a financially smart option.

The morning after Phillips voted, her health took a turn for the worse. Her son-in-law Jeff Griffith told The Washington Post that Phillips was unable to get out of her bed or drink her morning coffee.

“She said, ‘At least I voted,'” Griffith told The Post. “It was one of the last coherent things she said to us.”

“She was very happy. She kept saying she finally got to vote,” Griffith added.