Cover photo for Phyllis M. Thomas's Obituary
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Phyllis M. Thomas

December 19, 1929 — March 13, 2024

Cozad

Phyllis M. Thomas

Phyllis M. Thomas passed away Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at Meadowlark Pointe Assisted Living at the age of 94. Phyllis was born December 19, 1929 at Lebanon, Nebraska to Ivan and Letha (Waterman) Adams.

 Phyllis’ family moved to New Castle, Colorado when she was six months old for work.  After five years and lots of hard times, her family moved to the west coast.  Her father found work at a logging camp near Copalis Beach, Washington.  Her family lived there for about seven years.  This is where Phyllis attended grammar school in a one room schoolhouse.  During this time in her schooling, she moved up two grades all in one year.  This put her in her sister Dorothy’s class and helped to make them inseparable.   After leaving Copalis Beach, her family move to Port Angeles, Washington where her father worked at Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill. Phyllis finished her schooling in Port Angeles and graduated from Port Angeles High School in 1947. Upon graduating, she began working at Olympic State Bank where she worked for ten years.  This is where she met Ted Thomas who was stationed in Port Angeles while in the Coast Guard. Her friend went on a date with Ted and she went on a date with Ted’s friend.  No love connections were made, so a few days later Ted called Phyllis and asked her out on a date.  She decided to go even though she didn’t think he was “all that special”.  Well, he must have been special enough because six months later they got married.

 On July 1, 1954, Phyllis married Theodore Thomas at Port Angeles, Washington at the First Presbyterian Church. Their union was blessed with three children, Tamela Maye, Karen Kaye and Lisa Ann.   Tamie was born in Port Angeles, Washington in 1956.  Karen was born in San Diego, California in 1961.  Lisa was born in Kodiak, Alaska in 1970.  Ted and Phyllis were married for 67 years before Ted’s death in 2021.  Once married, Phyllis traveled many places while in the military.  The first place they were stationed after Port Angeles was Barber’s Point, Hawaii in March of 1958.  They found a house to rent on Waikiki Beach.  She was absolutely thrilled with this assignment.  Throughout the years that they were in the service, they lived in many different places-Washington, Hawaii, Virginia, California, Washington D.C., and Alaska.

Upon retiring from the Coast Guard after 20 years in 1972, the family of five made their way to Cozad, Nebraska where they ended up living for over 50 years in the same house, on the same corner, across the street from the grocery store.  Phyllis never thought she would be living back in Nebraska where her life had begun all those years back. While in Cozad Phyllis stayed in the home taking care of the girls, the house, the yard and many other daily happenings.  Phyllis was an avid seamstress and made many of her daughters clothing including their yearly Christmas and Easter dresses.  She was also known to have mended many of her son-in-laws and grandchildrens clothes and jeans.  Phyllis also made many satin pillowcases for her family and gave many of them as gifts to friends.  Phyllis always enjoyed gardening.  She had a small garden with her favorites-tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.   She also enjoyed planting flowers around her yard.  To date, there are nineteen peony bushes in the yard that she shared with her family. She rooted and planted them all from two original bushes. She worked hard to make sure their corner lot looked immaculate. This proved to be true when she was awarded Yard of the Month in the 90’s.  Phyllis passed her love for gardening down to her daughter Lisa and her granddaughter Tristan.  

 After Ted retired, they enjoyed traveling to many places.  Phyllis visited all fifty states except for two. However, their destination of choice was in Southern California near Palm Springs where they were “Snow Birds” every year with her sister Dorothy and brother-in-law, Howard and many old and new friends.  They would make their travels after Halloween and return to Cozad by Easter.  Phyllis had many favorite adventures during those years-flea markets, going to the Bob Hope Golf Classic, and day trips into Mexico.   One ritual that was never skipped was their nightly happy hours where they shared fun filled games, skits and stories, delicious food and tasty beverages.

Phyllis enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren.  She loved spending holidays with them and reminiscing about holidays past.  She was even known to join in with the games the kids were playing.  Her grandchildren recall how she would make it to all of their activities and remember how they use to make up games with cards or dominoes and play with grandma for hours. They also could always count on grandma’s cookie jar being full of freshly baked oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or some other yummy treat.  If she didn’t have those made, she would dig some out of the freezer or they would raid the cereal cabinet.  

 Phyllis was a faithful and devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church in Cozad since 1972. She was very involved with Sunday School when her children were little and different women’s groups and bible studies.  She helped with the Annual Fall Bazar, along with taking her turn at being the chairman.

 Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ted; daughters, Tamie Budahl and Karen Lehmann; sister, Dorothy Winters and brother, Bob Adams.

She is lovingly survived by her daughter, Lisa (Derrick) Gengenbach; grandchildren, Nate (Natalie) Lehmann, Tristan (Matt) Newcomb, Luke Gengenbach, Jacob Gengenbach and Zackary Gengenbach; great grandchildren, Kellan, Drew and Amelia Newcomb, and baby Lehmann coming in June; son-in-law, Kevin Lehmann.

Memorials are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church. Services will be held Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Jill Boyd officiating. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery. Visitation with family present will be Wednesday, March 20, 2024 from 5 to 7 p.m.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Phyllis M. Thomas, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Berryman Funeral Home

620 E 22nd St, Cozad, NE 69130

Family will be present

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Funeral Service

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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