Cover photo for Phyllis J. Garrett's Obituary
Phyllis J. Garrett Profile Photo

Phyllis J. Garrett

August 18, 1926 — February 10, 2024

Woodbine

Phyllis J. Garrett

 Phyllis J. Garrett arrived in Woodbine, Kansas, at 1:30 a.m. August 18,1926, and went to her heavenly home on February 10, 2024, at the age of 97. She is survived by her brothers Willis (Dorothy) Garrett and Rowe (Margaret) Garrett as well as many nieces, nephews, and their children. Her parents, Ray, and Olive (Oesterreich) Garrett had one daughter and four sons: Vern, Reed, Willis, and Rowe. Phyllis survived living with four brothers, but I would bet she could tell us many stories of how that went down! Perhaps it made her strong because her life tells us just how strong she became. Phyllis’s first enjoyable past time was to lie in her buggy and watch the windmill circle. Her life continued to follow a pattern of circles as she became involved in numerous organizations and positively impacting the lives of others. Many of those circles were in the educational field. The first school Phyllis attended was Walnut Grove which was a one-room school west of Woodbine where Phyllis walked over a mile. Then the Garrett family moved to Herington where she attended grade school. The Garretts moved to different homes in Herington, and perhaps those frequent moves led to Phyllis becoming a mover and a shaker later in life. Then once again the family moved back to Woodbine where Phyllis attended high school. Phyllis graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg in 1948 with a degree in music education. While she was there, she walked across town to the Methodist Church. Phyllis’s education continued at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee, Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, and last, but not least, St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, MO. Other short-term circles included a couple of summer jobs when college was not in session. Phyllis was a file clerk at the Herington Air Force Base Office writing vouchers. Her other job was at Maridahl Children’s Home where she was head cook for 60 children. She was the only cook, but some of the children helped. She also had the responsibility of a four-year-old boy. Later Phyllis was a waitress in the coffee shop at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, a church camp counselor, chair of the Chippewa Development committee, and a member of the Kansas East Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. The small-town girl from Woodbine spread her wings as her circles increased. Phyllis became a music teacher in Sawyer, Kansas, where she taught for two years. While there she introduced her brother Reed to a co-worker, Marge Bridgeman, who later became her sister-in-law. This was an example of her positive impact and influence on the lives of others. Phyllis’s circle continued as she took deaconess training at Scarritt College in Nashville, TN, which is similar to the Roman Catholic sisterhood. She taught at Vashti Grade and High School in Thomasville, GA, which was a school for girls from broken homes. She was also the assistant house mother in the dorm that housed 48 junior high girls. She always had a special place in her heart for children. Phyllis became a chaplain at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, KS. There in the coffee shop she heard a voice saying, “Go to seminary,” so off she went! She graduated from St. Paul’s School of Theology in Kansas City. While there she worked at Valley View UMC, Overland Park, as Director of Education while enrolled at St. Paul’s. An important circle started in 1976 when Phyllis was appointed as pastor to the United Methodist Churches in Powhattan and Everest, Kansas. In 1980 she was appointed to the church in Eureka, Kansas, where she resided with her feline friends.

Snowball, Sammy Joe, and Sugarfoot. Although Phyllis stayed busy as a pastor to her churches, she believed in ministering to others. She met and took Brenda Pierce, a handicapped friend, under her wing and basically adopted her as a member of the Garrett family. She cared for Brenda for decades until the end of her life. Phyllis circled the globe during summer vacations on mission trips arranged by the United Methodist Church. She traveled far and wide to Brazil, twice to the Holy Land, Greece, Moscow, Rome, Madrid, London, and Hawaii. Phyllis started climbing the ladder. While doing so, she definitely learned what the expression “A woman in a man’s world” meant. She had to work for it, and she worked hard. She became District Superintendent in the Parsons, Kansas, district. There were 30 churches under her supervision. After that she pastored two churches at Neosho Rapids and Hartford near Emporia, Kansas. At one point in life Phyllis had planned to retire at the age of 70 and spend the next 20 years learning a new role in society. She was an overachiever and had already exceeded the age of 70 when she retired and moved back to Woodbine, Kansas, in 2003 and lived at the home place in the house that her father had built. In 2007 Phyllis received a call from Jean Manz from Grace UCC in Abilene saying they needed a pastor. Never one to turn down a challenge or opportunity, Phyllis came out of retirement and accepted the job. She remained there for fifteen years and retired from Grace United Church of Christ in 2022 at age 95. Phyllis achieved so many of her lifetime goals. She moved numerous times in her life. One day when speaking to a niece, she looked out her picture window, pointed across the highway, and stated that her wish was to remain in her home with her last move being across the highway to her final resting place. She almost achieved that goal, but shortly after Christmas her declining health required that she could no longer live independently. The following words were spoken by Pansy, a dear friend of Phyllis, at her retirement celebration in Abilene. As Paul said, “Fight the good fight and finish the race that is set before us.” Phyllis did that with remarkable courage. She completed 74 years of formal teaching and ministry. Phyllis said the ministry never stops for a Christian. Well done, good and faithful servant.            

  

    

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Past Services

Visitation

Friday, February 16, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Woodbine United Methodist Church

308 7th St, Woodbine, KS 67492

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Funeral Service

Friday, February 16, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Woodbine United Methodist Church

308 7th St, Woodbine, KS 67492

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