Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phyllis Whicker, Mom, Grandma, Jelly-Bean Grandma

Phyllis Works Whicker 1918 ~ 2011 Phyllis Works Whicker, 93, passed away at home on May 12, 2011, in Murray, Utah.

Phyllis was born February 27, 1918, in Salt Lake City to James Earnest and Hazel (Huff) Works. She spent her early years in Delta, Richfield, Sugarhouse, Holladay, and Oasis, Utah. She graduated from Hinckley High School in Hinckley, Utah. She attended Utah State University and ultimately graduated from the Woodberry Business College in Los Angeles, California.

She married Henry Ford Whicker on October 15, 1938, in Murray, Utah, and, after Ford's death in 1984, was later sealed to him in the South Jordan Temple. Phyllis worked for the First National Bank of Murray for many years. That bank eventually became Walker Bank & Trust, then First Interstate, and finally Wells Fargo. She retired in 1980. Phyllis truly enjoyed serving in various women's organizations: She served as president of the Murray Junior Women's Club and the Salt Lake County Firemen's Auxiliary. She was also a captain of the Hillcrest Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Although Phyllis survived her husband by 27 years and endured the challenges of macular degeneration, she was the ultimate example to all who knew her, never complaining and always eager to live an active life.

She is survived by two daughters, Karen (George) Ellis of Los Angeles, California, and Dixie (Jim) Galbraith of Midway, Utah. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Derek Galbraith, Erin (Chuck) Huband, and Emily (Ben) Maxwell, as well as five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by an infant son, Raymond Ford Whicker, and a grandson, Brian Ford Galbraith. Funeral services will be at the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary (4760 South State Street in Murray) on Monday, May 16th at 11:00 a.m. There will be a viewing at the mortuary on Sunday, May 15th from 5:00-7:00 p.m., and preceding the funeral from 10:00-10:45 a.m. Interment will be in the Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah, immediately following the funeral.

As you can see, my beautiful Grandma passed away last week. It was rather sudden and completely surprising - but, being that my Grandma was 93, it was not completely unexpected. She died in her home. The home she had been able to live at for the last 61 years. It is a wonderful, wonderful home - built by her father and her husband, Grandpa Ford. What a blessing it was for her to live in her home and, yes, to die in it. My grandmother was legally blind and could only see peripherally (and that was probably pretty blurry as well). But she knew every nook and cranny of her home and went about living there with no difficulties. It would have been tragic for her to end up living the last few days, weeks, or months (or even years) in a nursing home or other facility - she would not have been able to do a single thing on her own since she wouldn't have been able to see or know what to expect. So I think we all found great comfort that she lived the past 6 + decades of her life in her sweet home.

My Grandma was such a beautiful lady - inside and out. She always looked elegant. Even when pulling weeds, or picking tomatoes in her garden, she was dressed nice, hair done, and make-up on. I had never, not once, heard a single negative comment from her - or even a complaint. She was always optimistic and up-beat. She didn't let blindness get in the way of her living life. She continued to go to movies, plays, out to dinner, etc. She was always great to be around due to her positive attitude.

My kids know her as "Jelly-bean Grandma." Grandma had a little jelly-bean machine (exactly like those small gumball machines) and whenever we'd visit, the kids would get a couple of turns on the machine for jelly-beans. When she'd visit us with my parents, she'd bring a baggie for each of the kids. Even when my parents came without her, a baggie was prepared for each of the kids. Such a thoughtful little treat that my kids adored.

So we'll all miss her. And will forever love her. . .

Here are a few recent pictures. Some I've posted already, but I enjoy them.


Niederfam said...

What a LOVELY tribute. I'm glad I knew her too. The service looks beautiful and what a wonderful opportunity to have an impromptu "reunion" even under "less than favorable" circumstances.

Rachelle said...

What a tender mercy to get to pass away at home. I really enjoyed hearing more about her life - she reminds me a little of my grandmother - how do you make women like that? ...These recent pictures with her will be such a treasure.

i {heart} hawkes said...

i was so sorry to hear the news of the passing of your grandma. i hope your mom is doing alright. the pictures are so sweet. emmy looks almost completely grown up in the last one. i am thinking of you all!

courtney said...

grandma phyllis - what a sweet lady. i loved reading about her life and her strength. and seriously, what a treasure to have all those pictures with her. i love that you had the kids release balloons for her - - i'm sure she loves them. :)