Phyllis Ruth Burnett Thomas died Monday, July 19, 2021, in her home at Estes Park Good Samaritan Village, her daughter, Judy, holding her hand. She was 99 years old. Having outlived, by grace and strong will, the social constraints of Covid-19, she spent her final weeks receiving family, sharing memories, and saying heartfelt goodbyes.
Phyllis was born December 30, 1921, to Elmer and Ruth (Piatt) Burnett, in Bloomington, Illinois, where she joined older brother Perry. She grew up in Bloomington and attended Illinois State University, receiving her B.S. in Home Economics. In the college library she met fellow student Chuck Thomas, and in 1943 Phyllis and Chuck were wed and began a 62-year marriage and perfect partnership.
In 1949 Phyllis and Chuck moved to Omaha, where they raised three children, Judy, Carol, and Chuck II. While Chuck had a long career with the Corps of Engineers and as a television meteorologist, Phyllis was a natural homemaker, creating a peaceful and comfortable home and nourishing her family with her excellent cooking and unconditional love.
Phyllis and Chuck enjoyed home improvement projects, square dancing, playing bridge, traveling, taking long walks, with Phyllis always out front in the lead. Above all else, they delighted in their growing family of grandchildren.
Among Phyllis's delights and pursuits were growing flowers, especially roses, nature and animals, especially dogs and birds, music, and reading, especially poetry. She was a skilled bridge player and unbeatable at Scrabble. She enjoyed knitting, Huskers football, and Rockies baseball.
In 2001 Phyllis and Chuck moved to Estes Park, Colorado, to be close to family and the mountains they had often enjoyed on family vacations. After Chuck died in 2005, Phyllis continued to form warm friendships and serve her family, friends, and church community with a tender and charitable heart. She was universally beloved by all who knew her. She moved to Estes Park Good Samaritan Village in 2011, where she made new friends and continued her activities and pastimes.
Phyllis was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian church, most recently, Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies, and she dedicated countless hours of service to her church community.
Phyllis believed that life had been generous in its gifts to her. Her longevity was a gift to her loved ones, as the passage of time refined her essential character and allowed her wisdom and love to burn ever more brightly.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, brother, husband, and great-grandson Clayton. Left to continue her legacy and celebrate her life are her children, Judy Andersen (Wayne) of Estes Park, Colorado; Carol Thomas of Missoula, Montana; Chuck Thomas (Rita) of Windsor, Colorado. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Chris Andersen (Kathryn), Jennifer Oligmueller (Virgil), Nathan Keedy (Sarah), Lillian Thomas, Jonas Thomas (Tiffany), Mark Thomas (Judith), and David Thomas. In addition, Phyllis had 18 great-grandchildren, a sister and brother-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
Memorial services are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial contributions to The Salvation Army, Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies, or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in care of Allnutt Funeral Service 1302 Graves Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517.