Phyllis Jean Sims, 80, passed away peacefully Saturday August 3, 2019 surrounded by family and friends from Lexington Park Assisted Living.
She was born September 16, 1938, in Topeka, Ks, the daughter of Wilbur L. Howey, Sr, and Thelma E. (Allensworth) Uhock.
Her parents had divorced shortly after. Phyllis and her brother Wilbur L. (Sonny) Howey, Jr were raised most of their child hood by their grandparents Lavena (Mom) and Ralph (Dad) Allensworth.
Phyllis and Sonny were two peas in a pod. They did pretty much everything together on Mom and Dad’s farm, milking cows, and that is where she learned to love animals.
They attended Rochester Grade School before entering Seaman High School their Freshman years.
It was at that time Thelma (Mother) married Olin (Whitey) Mentzer Sr. and had started their family. Whitey brought Sonny and Phyllis home and the family was together again.
Phyllis’s first paying job was at Whitey’s Drive Inn on Highway 24 (now Lardner Monuments). She was one of the original Car Hops on roller skates. She spent years in the food industry, Pore Richards, China Inn, and several other Chinese Restaurants here in Topeka.
At the end of her Freshman year, she fell in love with Jerry Lee Tice. They wedded that year, much to the dismay of Thelma, as she was only 16, but Phyllis by that time was a strong willed woman. That marriage lasted 6 years, and David Lee was born in the 5th year of the marriage.
After the divorce she met Gerald E Damme, they later married, and during those 16+ years, sons Daniel D., Douglas M., Dale, and Derrick Damme were born.
During those 16 years, the family experienced two fires. The 2nd fire could have ended this story of everyone except dad, had Doug not woken David up that cold January morning in 1968.
Whitey once again came to the rescue, and had purchased a home that had to be moved, as a new hamburger establishment was going in. Gerald and Phyllis purchased the home from Whitey which was moved to our permanent address at 1925 Nw Polk St. Mom and dad divorced in late 1977.
In 1978 Phyllis married Dennis Meacham. At that time Kim and Mindy Meacham came to live with them, Danny and Doug, together at the home on NE Spruce Ln.
Phyllis and Dennis eventually moved into the home that was next door to the Meacham family business, Meacham Grocery Store on NW Tyler Street. That was where mom learned the power of couponing.
Phyllis and Dennis divorced late 1980.
Phyllis lived the single life for a few years, honing her coupon skills, working at Frito Lay, and having good times with her girlfriends. Mickeys Landing was their favorite location to meet and dance.
Mickeys Landing was where she met her soulmate William R. Sims. Per moms best friend Connie Cramer, Bill had walked over to their table and was asking the ladies for a dance. Connie yelled at Phyllis, and said hey this guy has a cat on his shirt! You need to dance with him, and they did. The cat was Willie the Wildcat, as Bill was an avid KSTATE fan.
On August 4, 1984, Bill and Phyllis were married. They lived in Moms home for a few years, and later on they moved into their homestead at 220 Nw 62nd St.
At this time Daniel, Doug and I also gained a Step-Brother, Jay R Sims.
During their time together life happened, and on July 12, 1994 our Brother Daniel passed away. This changed mom, and she would always say losing a child is the worst thing a parent could ever go through!
Mom by this time had couponing perfected. She was able to acquire enough free grocery items, she started having garage sales and selling the products at flea markets. People loved those sales.
Bill and mom had decided that Antiquing could be their source of income when Bill decided to retire. They never really sold much, so in reality it became a hobby of collecting.
They also collected cats peaking at 12 in 2014, to go along with many the wild animals she was feeding. Skunks, Racoons, Prairie Dog, etc. Mom had created a cycle of life in her own backyard.
As their health declined in 2014 they moved to Atria for a few years, until Bill had a double stroke and they then moved into Lexington Park Assisted Living.
Bill passed away September 22, 2016.
Mom said Bill was a good man, and he could never be replaced. She was never a dull moment, there was no filter ever in her life, and catching people off guard, gave her great pleasure!
February 6th mom got sick and was taken to the hospital. She made the decision she was ready. Great Lakes Hospice was called to help as we wanted mom to go home and be with her two cats, Prince and Simone. Bill had also passed away in the same apartment.
Mom actually had a lift in spirits when she came home as Aunts, Kim Barnes, Pam Reed, and Rosemary Mentzer brought lemon pies and chocolate covered strawberries. For her to eat, and she was so thankful for their love and kindness.
Sadly, shortly after mom moved back home Prince passed away.
Mom was up and down over the next few months, playing Bingo and being ornery.
Even though she was growing weaker, she never lost her humor. The Saturday before her passing was our last verbal conversation. I had gotten her a little riled, and earned the middle finger from her good hand.
As I left, we both said what was to be our last I love you to each other. As Sunday she could not verbalize.
We had not thought too much about it, but Mom and Bill’s anniversary was coming up, and it was number 35. We think this was her plan all along.
In turning on Bill’s TV that last week, the channel that came up first was Bill’s favorite country and western music station. I told mom that I think Bill is back and she smiled.
On Saturday August 3rd I told mom that morning, hey you know this is the actual day you and Bill were married 35 years ago. Tomorrow August 4th was the actual calendar date.
We all had left to run some quick errands, and when we got back, staff who were off of work that day had also come to say goodbye. Mom took her last breath peacefully at 7:10pm, surrounded by her family and her LPAL family.
Our family can’t thank Lexington Park AL and Great Lakes Hospice enough for their excellent and professional care they gave mom and Bill. They treated them like they were their own family member.
Survivors include Phyllis’s sons, David (Denise) Damme and Douglas Damme; her step-children, Jay (Tracey) Sims; Kim and Mindy Meacham; siblings, Pamela (Bud) Reed, Kimberly (Rick) Barnes and Darrell Mentzer; seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. There are too many nieces, nephews, and cousins to mention, but she loved them all.
She was preceded in death by her soul mate, William (Bill) Sims, grandparents, parents, sons Daniel, Dale and Derrick Damme, brothers Wilbur (Sonny) Howey, Jr., Olin (Bud) Mentzer, Jr., and Timothy Mentzer.
Memorial services will be 11am, Saturday, August 10, 2019 at Parker-Price Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, 245 NW Independence Avenue, Topeka, Ks. Private inurnment will follow at Half-Day Cemetery, Topeka. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Helping Hands Humane Society, 5720 SW 21st St, Topeka, Ks 66604.
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