Phyllis Dorothe Williams (nee Janz)
1928 - 2015
Phyllis Williams, a long-time resident of the Souris area, died August 7, 2015 with her family at her side. Phyllis was born July 2, 1928 at Minitonas, Manitoba to Archie and Bea Janz. She was the youngest of their five children. She told us stories about helping her father on their farm and of the many childhood pranks she pulled with her sisters and brother. Tragedy struck her family when her brother, Henry, was killed in a farm accident at the age of seven.
Mum left home at age 14 to accompany her sister Jean on her first teaching job at Rosa School, near Pine River, Manitoba. Both Jean and Mum told great stories about their life together at the rural school. Mum moved to Souris, to help her sister, Isabel Janz with her sons, Murray & Dennis. They have a strong bond with Auntie Phil as a result. In Souris, she worked as a seamstress and hospital aide. Here she met her husband and best friend, Ross Williams. They married November 13, 1948 and produced a brood of eight children; Lynne (Paul Merkeley), Cranbrook, B.C.; Gerry (Carole Campbell), Souris, Manitoba; Ginny (Ron Zdan), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Brenda (Gerald Puhach), Elphinstone, Manitoba; Holly (Ken White), Brandon, Manitoba; Kathy Hainsworth, Souris, Manitoba; Byron (Margaret McGowan), Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Guy (Rhonda Zimmerman), Souris, Manitoba. There are 27 grandchildren; Hayley (Graeme Howland), Carley & Kelsey Merkeley; Amanda, Laura, Sarah, Ben, Gina & Johnny Williams; Jason, Ashley & Nikki Zdan; Zane & Chantel Puhach; Caitlin, Ryan & Courtney White; Scott, Cassie, Chase & Luc Hainsworth; Josh & Sam Williams, Wes Poneira; Matthew, Brianna & Tori Williams. She was blessed with two great grandchildren, Eli Puhach & Ryder Hainsworth.
Phyllis and Ross worked their mixed farm near Menteith until their retirement in 1985. She was known for her hard work and beautiful vegetable and flower gardens. She was a skilled seamstress, using her talents to craft a diverse range of clothing from wedding dresses to uniforms. She was very active in the community teaching 4-H sewing, cooking, home design, and public speaking, being honoured with a 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award. She belonged to the Toastmistress Club, the CWL, the Whitefield-Breezelawn Guild, and the Souris Drop-In Center.
Phyllis and Ross were both staunch, life-long supporters of the NDP. They were influential in raising funds to build the Souris Arena and the Souris Community Hall. Furthermore, they were passionate about the development of education, sports and music in their children. Both graciously welcomed and shared their home with others, always making room for that extra someone at their dinner table.
Upon retirement Phyllis and Ross moved to Souris, where they spent many happy years together. After Ross’s death in 1996, Phyllis continued to support her family, church and community, residing in their Souris home until 2011, spending her remaining three years in the Souris Personal Care Home.
Mum is survived by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, sister, Jean (Rocky) Forest of BC, and sister-in-law, Shirley (Carl) Mitton of AB, numerous nieces and nephews, neighbours and friends. She was predeceased by her husband, Ross, and two sisters, Isabel (Doug) Janz and Dornie (Gerry) Bouchard, and her brother, Henry Janz, Chas (Mae) Williams, Jack (Helen) Williams, Jean (Wally) Guy, Ken (Ruth) Williams, Ruth (Stan) Berry and Harvey Williams.
Funeral Mass was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Souris on August 12, 2015 with a private interment in the Souris & Glenwood Cemetery. In memory of Phyllis, donations may be made to the Souris Hospital Palliative Care Fund c/o Prairie Mountain Health Box 10 Souris, Manitoba R0K 2C0.