Phylis Doreen Armstrong (December 2, 1924 - June 23, 2020)
Phylis Doreen Armstrong passed away at her home on June 23, 2020, from natural causes. Phylis was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Harold and Beatrice Cutler, the second of five children George Darwin, Phylis Doreen, Theodore Lee, Margaret Clare, and David Arthur. Her father, a high school shop teacher, moved the family from the city to a farm near Middleville, Michigan during the Great Depression. There she completed her high school education while learning about life on a farm without indoor plumbing.
After graduation, Phylis found part-time work at a restaurant where she met Theodore (Ted) Armstrong, a local farmer. He quickly became a regular customer and the two were married on May 1, 1943. While operating the Armstrong family farm together with Ted, Phylis gave birth to their first son, Theodore Paul, on March 4, 1945. Phylis and Ted gave up the sandy hills of their Middleville farm and moved to 120 acres of flat fertile land in Lake Odessa to start a dairy farm with registered Holstein cattle. The family continued to grow with the birth of their second son, Thomas Jeffrey, on April 1, 1949, and daughter, Kathy Suzanne, on April 19, 1954. The dairy farm continued to grow to a total of 50-60 milk cows in the mid-1960s. Phylis was always involved in the business of farming -- milking cows, herding cows, feeding cows, preparing feasts for harvest crews, and an endless number of other tasks essential to farm life. Still, she always found time to make celebratory meals for the holidays, birthdays, and other special events, and spent many late nights caring for her family when they were ill or they needed something for school the next day. Her intense work ethic and high personal standards provided a powerful example for her children. During this time, Phylis and Ted’s main diversions were Saturday evening square dances, and once a year trips to Florida for some R and R.
Phylis and Ted gave up dairy farming in 1976 after Ted was injured by falling from a load of hay. Following a few tours around the country in a motorhome, Phylis and Ted entered the real estate business and moved from their farmhouse on Tupper Lake Road to a new home on M66. They were delighted to live on a paved road. Following ten years in real estate, Phylis and Ted officially retired. During their retirement, Ted made small woodcraft items in his workshop that Phylis, a talented artist, painted with great detail. She also created many landscape paintings that now adorn the homes of her surviving family and friends. In their later years, Phylis and Ted took special pleasure in an annual two-week gathering of friends for fishing and socializing on Lake Cadillac. Following Ted’s passing in 2011, Phylis moved into Lake Odessa where she oversaw the remodeling of her home and planted a perennial garden. She also became a regular patron of the Lake Odessa Public Library after moving into town.
Phylis was an active member of the Central United Methodist Church from the time she and Ted first moved to Lake Odessa in 1948. They made many close friends there. The family is grateful for all the support from the church community that helped make it possible for her to live in her own home during her final years.
Phylis is survived by her son Tom and his wife Mary, grandson David and his wife, Shannon Delahaye, great-granddaughter Maggie, granddaughter Katherine and her husband Andres Tellez, great-grandchildren William and Joanna Tellez, granddaughter Elizabeth and her husband Christopher Vidale, great-grandsons Francis and Max Vidale, granddaughter Suzanne Swift-Cook and great-grandchildren Nuriel Cook and Earen Zandstra, and granddaughter Rachel Anderson and her husband Travis, great-grandson Adam Anderson.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, any donations in Phylis’ name be directed to the Lake Odessa Public Library or Central United Methodist Church of Lake Odessa.
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