Phyllis Brei, 80, of Kearney, died Saturday, July 4, 2015 at Mt. Carmel Keens Memorial Home in Kearney. Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, July 10, 2015 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winner, S.D. Interment will follow at the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Mission, S.D. Visitation will be held 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, July 9, 2015 at O’Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral Home in Kearney. Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation. Chapel of the Pines in Valentine is in charge of arrangements.
Phyllis Irene Christiansen Brei was born on February 24th, 1935 at the General Hospital in Winner, SD to John and Gladys Christiansen, nee Vandeventer. She attended adult instruction classes and was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at Zion Ev. Lutheran Church in Mission, SD on January 9, 1954. Phyllis was a faithful member of the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod throughout her adult life, she was a member at Zion in Mission, SD, Trinity in Winner, SD and Good Shepherd in Kearney, NE. She was active in various organizations through the church and helped out with many projects over the years.
Phyllis lived on the family farm in southeastern Todd County, SD, near the community of Keya Paha, Nebraska; she attended country school through eighth grade and attended high school in Mission, SD at Todd County High School, living on the campus during the school year. Phyllis graduated from Todd County High School in 1953 and was active with alumni association keeping records and addresses of alumni until her declining health impacted this work in 2007. Phyllis enjoyed staying in touch with the alumni of TCHS as she worked diligently to find information on former alums who the committee had lost contact with. The Todd County High School reunions were a very important to Phyllis, she very much enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends from around the immediate area as well as from across the country.
Phyllis worked for the Missouri Valley Insurance Company in Burke, SD following graduation, until her marriage to Reuben Brei on June 12th, 1954. To this union two children were born, a son Philip and a daughter, Cheryl.
Phyllis worked for the South Dakota Department of Social Services from July 1st. 1954 until April 1st, 1958, when she became a stay at home mom. Phyllis rejoined the work force in 1966 involved in the Title Five program, at the end of this program she was able to re-join the Department of Social Services, retiring after 34 years of service in January 1997. The star quilt that Phyllis received upon her retirement was an item that she was very proud of and grateful for.
Phyllis and her mother were avid seamstresses, making many of her children’s clothes, Phyllis was always working on crafts or projects, usually making gifts for the special people in her life, friends or family.
Phyllis’ main passion was crocheting, she crocheted everything from potholders and baby blankets to full sized afghans. She was always looking for a way to add a crocheted border to a blanket or add a personalized touch to something she wanted to give to someone. She enjoyed making and sharing her beautiful handiwork with friends and relatives for all types of occasions.
Phyllis is survived by her husband Reuben, her son Philip, daughter-in-law, Lois of Kearney, NE, two grandsons, Kevin of Charles City, IA and Matthew of Kearney, NE. Nieces, JoAnn Holmes, Laura Emde and Doris Abraham and their families, Nephews, Jerald Brei and Harold Brei and their families, as well as numerous cousins throughout Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan and Oregon.