Phyllis L. Armstrong
May 23, 1934-Oct. 17, 2023
Tuesday evening our mother was welcomed into heaven by God where she joined many friends and family members. She was educated, and well-informed, loved bridge, gardening, and sports, but most of all, her family. She was born in Anthony, Kansas to Wilford and Beulah Randels during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression and was raised on a farm outside of Bluff City, Kansas. Like many children of the time, her mother covered her crib with a wet sheet to protect her from pneumonia.
As the oldest of four sisters, Mother was a great help to her mother, raising chickens, gardening, and overseeing the exploits of her three younger sisters, especially Eleanor, the rascal of the group. Mother graduated from high school in Bluff City the same year her youngest sister, Ora Louise Brown of Aurora, Colorado, began first grade. Ora remembers a time when the school bus couldn’t make it to the house due to a storm so Mother carried Ora on her back with Ora’s feet tucked into her pockets to keep them warm.
Mother loved sports, especially Nebraska and Kansas State football, the Olympics, and volleyball. She played softball and basketball in high school and attended Nebraska football games with her friend and colleague, Alice Lynn. She regularly watched televised sports and especially enjoyed the Olympics. An annual tradition once the sisters all retired was to gather in Omaha for the NCAA basketball tournament, where they kept brackets to track the winners. When the sisters were together they sparkled with laughter and fun.
Mother was always full of love and enthusiasm for family across generations. She grew up at a time when families relied on each other to survive. On Sundays, the larger family would get together and there would be many, many cousins her age. These cousins treasured their relationships and stayed in contact all their lives. She was visited by Matt and Sue Hesser of Colorado Springs, Colorado the Sunday before she passed.
She was remarkable in many ways. She earned her B.S. in Institutional Dietetics from Kansas State University in Manhatten, Kansas, and her Master’s Degree in Dietetic Institutional Management from Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa. In her professional life, she worked for many years at Skyline Manor & Villa, and consulted at many area nursing homes. At Skyline, she earned the respect of her staff such that they would come into work the night before blizzards and sometimes stay for multiple days so the people they cared for would be assured of hot meals. After leaving Skyline, she moved to Wichita, Kansas where she worked at Wesley Hospital and the WIC program, and commuted to Anthony on weekends to care for her aging parents.
But especially, Mother loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She returned to Omaha in 2003 where she had raised her three children and to be with her many friends. She was many things to many people and a ray of sunshine to all who knew her. For her children, she was a lamplighter, providing a guiding light as they navigated the way forward. For her grandchildren, she was a loving caregiver, true friend, consummate hostess, and the most incredible cookie-baking grandma. Indeed, many have shared how much they learned from our mother from baking chocolate chip cookies to chocolate cake to Swedish pancakes, and how they themselves have passed on these traditions to the next generation.
Just know, if you knew our mom you are blessed and loved. How sad it is and how lucky it was that she was ours.
Preceded in death by husband Norman D. Armstrong. Survived by children Brian Armstrong (Beatrice), Jennifer Armstrong (Daniel Perkins), Sara Kelley (Nick); 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren; sisters Eleanor Randels, Julia Godfrey, Ora Brown.
Visitation begins Monday 9:30am with a Celebration of Life at 10:30am at Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 S 114 St. Private Interment Evergreen Cemetery. Memorials to the Presbyterian Church of the Cross.