02/17/1924 – 03/31/2021
February 17, 1924 – March 31, 2021 Phyllis Elinor Irving, of San Andreas, passed away of natural causes on March 31, 2021, at the age of 97, while surrounded by family and health care friends. Phyllis was born near Dinuba, CA, and raised by her mother Florence, and father Corwin Sill. Phyllis had two older sisters, Francis and Elloise.
Phyllis had a very active childhood with many interests and friends. She was also a big help to her mother who operated a Boarding House from their home that had earned a solid reputation for the best home cooked meals in Dinuba! After a few years of college classes and working at a Bank, Phyllis was offered and accepted a job in Yosemite Valley in the Accounting Department for Curry Company.
Months later while attending a Yosemite Valley square dance Phyllis spotted a Navy Sailor in uniform at the square dance, Phyllis whispered to her girlfriend that if she were to marry that she would want it to be with someone just like him! Phyllis invited the Sailor to join her “square”, but Dan, the shy Sailor declined. The following morning Phyllis’s girlfriend saw Dan again at church services, and asked Dan if he could attend a picnic with her, Phyllis and some other friends at Indian Caves? After Dan gleefully said “Yes!”, then Phyllis’s friend said “Great, then you can bring some fried chicken, and we’ll have a picnic!”… and he did! Love blossomed at that picnic and three months later Phyllis and Dan were married at the little red chapel in Yosemite Valley.
Dan and his Navy shipmates had been staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley, as it had been converted into a Naval Hospital during WW2. While patrolling in the South Pacific, some of Dan’s crew had come down with tuberculosis so the whole crew was quarantined at the Ahwahnee Hotel! Dan and his shipmates had to return to their Naval patrol craft just a few weeks after the Yosemite wedding.
After the war, Phyllis and Dan settled down to begin their lives together, and started a family. While Dan worked to support the family, he was also earning a Master’s degree in Agronomy, and Phyllis was just as busy taking care of the family and everything else at home, including helping Dan memorize the “genus and species” names of hundreds of plants for his Master’s! Phyllis had developed a very skilled memory, she could easily recite poems by Robert Frost that she had learned in the second grade, she memorized all the counties in California, and many amazing recipes!
Phyllis, Dan and family moved to San Andreas in 1960, when Dan was hired as the County Farm Advisor. Dan was always quick to give Phyllis the credit for much of his personal and professional success with her unwavering support, her love, her personality and many talents. Phyllis always had a full table for her extraordinary home cooked meals that sparked great conversation, laughter and countless cherished memories amongst the family and friends!
Phyllis was a very active member of the Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in San Andreas. She enjoyed helping with many supporting roles, including preparing flower arrangements for the church altar each Sunday, preparing handmade gifts and crafts for the Christmas bazaars, and many other labors of love. For several years Phyllis had a dog named “Trouble”, and Trouble would greatly enjoy all the trips to the church to “help” Phyllis with her chores in advance of the church services. The Church Priest would often comment with a wink to the congregation that “wherever Phyllis goes … there is Trouble!”
Phyllis is survived by three of her children: Daniel Steven Irving, of Aptos; Thomas Corwin Irving O’Connor (his wife Jeri), of Rocklin; and William Sheldon Irving, of Sacramento. Phyllis’s husband of 74 years, Daniel Morris Irving passed away on February 22, 2020; and Phyllis’s daughter, Phyllis Susan Brackett, of San Andreas passed away on July 15, 2020. Phyllis is also survived by six grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.
Phyllis and her family are truly grateful for the team of loving, caring and skilled health care professionals (aka “Team TLC”) who provided extraordinary 24/7 care for Phyllis, Dan and Susan in the comfort of their home over the last several years. Also, many thanks to the staff of “Hospice of Amador and Calaveras” who were also instrumental in providing great support and comfort care.
Phyllis is dearly missed by her family and those who knew her. A semi-private memorial service will be held to honor and celebrate Phyllis’s life on a future date, still to be determined.