Family of Phyllis George say their goodbyes

VERSAILLES, Ky. (WKYT) - Former Kentucky first lady Phyllis George died May 14th at UK medical center. She was battling a rare blood disease that eventually took her life. George's visitation took place this afternoon at the Kentucky Castle.

"I would say I love you very much, that you meant a lot to me in my life," says Brittany.

Phyllis George could wear a lot of hats. Kentucky first lady, CBS Sports personality, Miss America, and aunt.

"She was a remarkable woman, she lit up the room wherever she went," says George's niece Brittany George Couch.

Brittany says her aunt had a commitment to family.

"At home, having dinner around the kitchen table, and just enjoying each other's company," says Brittany.

Loved ones say the family is in shock. Brittany shares when her aunt was in the hospital her children had a tough time visiting due to the coronavirus. Still, Brittany says her aunt died with her children by her side. She remembers how her aunt stayed strong throughout her struggle with the rare blood disease that eventually took her life.

"She was a George after all and she so she was very proud, and so she didn't ever want to see or have anybody see her struggling or sad or sick," says Brittany.

Brittany says she was planning to come to Lexington next month, but due to the coronavirus she wasn't able to say her goodbyes.

"I would say I love you very much, that you meant a lot to me in my life, throughout my life... she was a very special person and I would want her to know how special she was to me," says Brittany.

Loved ones say one of George's goals in life was to keep family together. They say the family will make plans to ensure they continue traditions.

Instead of flowers, George's family is asking for donations to help those struggling with rare blood diseases.

There will be a private service for George this Monday at 3:00 pm. It will be shown on the Kentucky Educational Television Network.