Phyllis Lejoy Ehlers was born on October 12, 1915, in Walthill, Neb. to Harry and Clara Sipp. Phyllis passed away on June 3, 2012, at Lifecare Medical Center in Roseau, Minn. at the age of 96. She was the second oldest of 10 children, and a wonderfully supportive sister and friend.
Growing up, Phyllis lived on a farm in rural Gordon and attended country school through eighth grade. So that she could attend high school in town, she worked as her grandfather Gehrig’s housekeeper and bookkeeper in exchange for room and board, and collected wages of $0.50 per week. Phyllis completed 11th grade, then moved back to her parents’ home to help with her siblings. At age 18, she met George Robert Ehlers, when he came to the home to pick up her sister for a date. Her sister was not home so Phyllis said she would go on the date. Three months later, October 1, 1934, they eloped and were married in Martin, S.D. Phyllis used to say it was love at first sight.
During their married life, George and Phyllis worked on many different ranches around the Gordon area. While helping friends move to Warroad, Minn., in the fall of 1947, George also bought a farm in Warroad and moved Phyllis and their two sons, Robert and John on February 23, 1948. Phyllis was a busy, hard-working, dedicated wife and mother and a great cook, despite living without many modern conveniences. She always made it work with a smile, and her positive attitude made all the difference. She also did seasonal work on a potato farm and in a pea sorting factory, and made cloths for her children to help ends meet. At age 55, Phyllis, began a career as a CNA at the Warroad Care Center. She retired at age 67.
George and Phyllis moved to Benson, Ariz. in 1993 to enjoy some warm golden years. While in Arizona, Phyllis and George went on many day trips with Bonnie and Bob, and enjoyed the scenery with picnics and stories about the shape of the clouds or the mountains that day. Phyllis and George returned to Warroad in 1995 and moved into an apartment at the Warroad Care Center.
Phyllis is preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Clara Sipp, husband, George, infant son, Wesley, and eight siblings, Harold, Dayrold, Dwain, Harry (Bud), Delbert, Clifford, Lorraine, and Kathleen.
She is survived by her sister, Bonnie (Bob) Gates, sister-in-law, Bonnie (Norman) Evans, brother-in-law, Henry (Ida) Ehlers, sons, Robert (Janet) Ehlers, John (Rebecca) Ehlers, Rockford J. Ehlers, daughter, Carrie Sue (James) Hamlin, 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She was deeply loved, and will be missed, though she lives on in our hearts, our smiles, and our memories.
A funeral service for Phyllis was held on Saturday, June 9, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. at the Warroad Senior Living Center. Visitation was held on Friday, June 8, from 5-7 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. devotional service at Helgeson Funeral Home in Warroad. Interment was at America Cemetery in Warroad.