Phyllis Gay Stephenson
October 14, 1917 – August 24, 2020
Phyllis Gay Stephenson left our world behind on August 24, 2020 in the comforts of her home in Tahoe City, surrounded by her immediate family and loved ones. Phyllis was born in Detroit, Michigan on October 14, 1917, the daughter of Frank Herbert Gay and Eva May Stratford. The family moved to Kenilworth, Illinois when she was about two or three years of age and then to Santa Monica, California in 1924. She attended school there and then transferred to Beverly Hills High School in 1933.
In 1942 she married William Hughes Stephenson who was studying medicine at the University of Southern California. World War II had just begun and due to his very low draft number he enlisted in the Army, which eventually took him to the east coast and then overseas. Phyllis traveled to Groton, Massachusetts and lived there until the war ended.
They returned to California in 1945 where Lt. Stephenson resumed his medical training at Los Angeles General Hospital. Their four children, Gaye, William Anderson (Andy), Lynne, and James Kirk were born during this time, and in 1953 the family moved to Santa Barbara, California.
In 1966 there was a divorce and after working and traveling, Phyllis moved to Tahoe City in 1997 where her son Andy now resided. She decided to spend a year or two, year round, to experience the snow and the change of seasons. Having taken up skiing at the age of fifty, she continued to ski until the age of 87. In the summer she developed a flower garden behind her condominium and was active in the local garden club. She enjoyed the lake and the outdoor life it encompassed, hiking through the high country and traveling to various locations throughout the Sierras. Never one to sit still for long, she was always ready to embark on a new journey. That year or two lasted for 23 years and she enjoyed every minute of it.
Before her passing she wanted to thank the whole management group and grounds crew at Rocky Ridge for seeing that she was well cared for, the doctors and nurses of the Tahoe City Urgent Care Group for the care she received there and her Hospice nurse Caitlin and the Hospice organization for making the transition as comfortable as it could be.
And finally, to bid a fond farewell to her four very individual children– “it was my greatest pleasure having you all and being your mother.” Her spirit lives on in the pleasures and joy she brought to everyone who knew her………….*Portrait image is at 50 years old, other image is at 97 hiking Shirley Canyon.
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