Phyllis Lucille Leach was born on July 3, 1928 in Winner, SD to Joyce E. Taylor (Goodsell) and Ned D. Taylor. Phyllis died on July 14, 2020 at her residence in Austin, TX, at the age of 92 years.
Phyllis grew up and attended school in Winner, SD. After high school, she attended Northwestern University where she graduated with honors.
One of the highlights of her college years was being part of the debate team that won the Big 10 Debate tournament and she was then named to the all-Big 10 debate team.
She married her husband and best friend for life, Robert (Rusty) Leach on December 27, 1951. Their first son, John was born in 1955. Phyllis and Rusty moved to Pierre, SD in the late 1950’s. Mark, their second son, was born in 1959. Phyllis worked as a teacher (Spanish, English and Drama) in Ft. Pierre for several years before joining the Pierre school system as a Spanish teacher.
After retiring from teaching she joined a travel agency (AAA Travel) which helped her share her love of travel with scores of clients. When Phyllis retired from the travel agency, she joined the South Dakota History Center as a volunteer and enjoyed meeting people and sharing a love of SD history.
In 2009, Rusty and Phyllis moved to Austin, TX to be closet to their sons’ families and their grandchildren. They embraced the challenge of starting a new life in their early 80’s and greatly enriched the lives of their extended family in the process.
They made many new friends in Austin and that continued, when after Rusty passed in 2017, Phyllis moved to the Brookdale Senior Living facilities.
Phyllis loved to read and travel and learn about other cultures. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She was very proud of her 65+ year marriage to Rusty and loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents and brother and her husband Rusty. She is survived by her sons John and Mark, and her numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, sister in law Jean (Gary) Stickland, several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
While current circumstances present challenges to having a gathering or memorial service, plans are being made to honor her life at the appropriate time in the future.