FRISBIE, Phyllis E.
7/7/1934 - 10/13/2020
If you ever spent much time at Phyllis Frisbie's house, you could bet that 2 things would happen. The first is you would be offered something to eat or drink. The second is that you knew you were welcome in her house. Phyllis was a kind-hearted woman who loved to laugh and was passionate about life and her family.
Born during the depression in 1934, her father George and her mother Elizabeth raised Phyllis with her four older brothers and older sister on a farm in Kalamazoo. Her family would raise fruits and vegetables and trade them for dairy and meat. In between chores, Phyllis was best friends with Phyllis "Philly" Taylor. Their friendship would last for more than sixty years.
Phyllis attended Kalamazoo Public Schools and graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School at the age of 16. Her love of music led her to Western Michigan University where she graduated with a degree in Music.
She began her career by teaching music in the Decatur schools. During this time, she met a man on a blind date. That date led to another and eventually Phyllis married Harold Frisbie. The two moved from Lansing to Portage in 1961. The two raised four children William (Bill), Robert (Rob), Julie and Timothy (Tim). Phyllis and Harold lived in that house until his death in 2004. But her family was not limited to only her born to children. Her children married and those new members of the family were as much a part of her family as her original four kids. She was also a secondary mother to Nancy Martin. Nancy's mom and dad were close family friends and after their passing, Phyllis took it upon herself to make Nancy as much a part of the family as anyone with the last name Frisbie.
During the time she raised her family, she taught thousands of students in the Portage Public Schools in the study of music as well as hundreds of people who took private piano lessons. Her love of music and people were in perfect harmony. During her time at Portage schools, she made friendships that would last for decades. People were always drawn to her love of life and wanted to be a part of that passion.
But her career was a small part of her life. Her real passion was her family. Her willingness to give to her children knew no boundaries. The passion was not limited to her children alone. Bill had six boys, Rob had a daughter and son. Julie had a daughter and two sons and Tim adopted a daughter and two sons. The grandchildren made her joy even greater by presenting her with great grandchildren. They received Phyllis' attention like any grandmother and then some. Family dinners and random gifts, usually very specific for one to receive the gift, were very common. More than once birthday gifts were given months before because she could not wait to see the face of the ones she bought or made it for. By the end of the dinners an abundance of food was sent home, as one final gift offering, for the night spent laughing and retelling old stories.
Many nights were spent going to baseball games, basketball games, choir concerts, dance recitals, band concerts, soccer games and anything else in which her family was participating. The pride to watch her family performing could be seen by a glow on her face with amazing words of praise at the conclusion of the event.
If it was not their own family's activities, Harold and Phyllis would take their family and attend Western Michigan Football games. She would pack tailgate lunches for all that would be going (always too much food). Again, the pride showed on her face that she was surrounded by her family.
Phyllis lost Harold to cancer in 2004. She leaned on her faith in God to help cope with the loss. But her passion for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren never diminished. She continued with dinners and retelling stories one more time. She just wanted her family with her.
As time went on, Phyllis' health began to falter. Alzheimer's slowly invaded her life and made it difficult for her to carry out day to day activities. Enter Vicky Penny. What started as a simple act of coming to assist with daily activities blossomed into a friendship that lasted to the end of her life. Once more, you could not come into her life without being drawn to her passion for life and her love of people.
Phyllis' life came to a close on October 13th. While waiting for the end, multiple neighbors asked for the privilege to come and say goodbye to her. She was surrounded by family as she passed into the arms of Jesus and will no doubt be greeted by Harold.
She will be missed by all that knew her. But the legacy of love she leaves behind will endure forever.
Visitation will be held 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, October 17th at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Guests are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Private graveside services will be held in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the American Cancer Society or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. To view Phyllis' personalized web page, please visit https://www.langelands.com
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