Cover photo for Phyllis Kerner Rafterman's Obituary
Phyllis Kerner Rafterman Profile Photo
1917 Phyllis 2022

Phyllis Kerner Rafterman

May 1, 1917 — March 12, 2022

Mrs. Phyllis Kerner Rafterman, 104, passed away on March 12, 2022.

Phyllis was born May 1, 1917, a daughter of the late Wolfe Kerner and Anna Freichel Kerner in Brooklyn, NY. Mrs. Rafterman lived in Brooklyn until she was 96 years old when she moved to Chapel Hill, NC to live with her daughter and son-in-law. She was smart, loving, and fiercely independent. Phyllis had a great appreciation for nature, beauty, and kindness, and was a good friend to everyone. Phyllis loved to sing and was always sharing songs of her youth with those she loved. She was a great seamstress and knitter, often making clothing for her family and friends. She spent her life devoted to her family and will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Rafterman was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 33 years, Nathan Rafterman; and her four brothers and three sisters.

Mrs. Rafterman is survived by her daughter, Anne R. Derby (Jeff); grandchildren, Nina Devine (Chris) and Suzanne Derby-Wright (Angela); great-grandchildren Jared (10) and Caleb (10) Derby-Wright, Willa (9), Lake (7) and Wolfe (3) Devine; as well as numerous other loving family members and friends.

A graveside service will be held 12:00 p.m., Monday, March 14, 2022 at Durham Hebrew Cemetery with Rabbi Daniel Greyber officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Phyllis’ name can be directed to:

Mazon, PO Box 96119 Washington, DC 20090 or online at!/donation/checkout.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 or online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Phyllis Kerner Rafterman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, March 14, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Durham Hebrew Cemetery

840 Kent St, Durham, NC 27701

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 15

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree