Loving wife and mother, Phyllis Marlene Gibbons passed away from natural causes December 7, 2022 at the age of 89. She was living at Scottish Rite Park, in Des Moines, Iowa; a place that ensured warmhearted and professional care at every step of her journey.
Phyllis was born October 21, 1933 and grew up in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the daughter of Harold and Gwendolyn Freeman, with two younger brothers and an older sister. She married her teenage sweetheart, Jack Gibbons, upon graduation from high school. After a brief stint in Mingo and Eddyville, they moved to West Des Moines, Iowa and then on to Des Moines, which became their permanent home. She was an Iowan through and through, loved the rolling hills, beautiful trees and of course the Hawkeyes. She was an avid sports fan, and through the years became just as enthused about the Cyclones. If you called during gametime, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear her say, “game’s on, let’s talk after.”
Music in general was a lifelong passion, she played the saxophone and piano during high school. Later she filled the home with music in many ways. She continued to play the piano, she was her children’s first piano teacher, patient and pleasant, as was her nature, embedding a love of music in them. She also loved listening, singing, or dancing to Doris Day, Elvis Presley, and anything that was up-beat. Family fondly remembers her singing “You ain’t nothin but a hound dog” or dancing around the kitchen floor. She was also extremely quick witted, and found the humor in life. For instance, when grandkids were resistant to brushing their teeth she would say, “only brush the ones you want to keep,” resulting in both a smile and clean teeth.
She worked for the Des Moines Public Schools as a Study Hall Supervisor for many years, however, her primary focus in life was being a mother and wife. Without question, whenever one of her children needed help with anything Grandma Phyllis showed up. She loved to stay up late and discuss the fun things in life or its challenges, listening and advising on everything from pride in grandchildren, to career changes, to worries or concerns life brought. Phyllis was overjoyed and couldn’t wait to hold and rock a baby. She stopped working outside the home to care for one of her grandsons, which she continued until he entered kindergarten. Twice she drove to Texas to help take care of her first baby great-grandson. It was always a labor of love. Her children knew they would be fine parents, because they had such a wonderful example in her. So, this obituary is more than an announcement and details of her life, it is a thank-you to a devoted and loving woman. Her legacy is her gentleness, the importance of family, and her commitment to goodness.
She is survived by her three children, Sherry, Dan, and Sue, and her daughter-in-law Donna, along with nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Jack and granddaughter Megan.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Iowa Youth Chorus Inc. PO Box 13366 Des Moines, IA 50310; 515-985-9703. A small service will be held for close family.