We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at West Funeral Home - Casselton
Phyllis Widley, 90, Hunter, ND died on Friday, September 23, 2022, at Bethany Retirement Living on 42nd, Fargo, ND.
Phyllis Yvonne (Kennedy) Widley was born March 3, 1932 in Fargo to Robert and Ellen (Anderson) Kennedy. She grew up on the family farm in Hunter. She graduated from Hunter High School and St. Luke’s School of Nursing. After graduation, Phyllis worked at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She returned to Hunter to marry her hometown sweetheart, Merle Allen Widley, on June 27, 1954 in Hunter.
Phyllis enjoyed her nursing career and caring for others. She worked as a nurse in Hunter with a local doctor, in Fargo at St. Luke’s Hospital and the Fargo Clinic, and in Arthur at the Good Samaritan Center.
Phyllis also had a musical career that spanned her entire life. It started with piano lessons as a child, where she’d place a coin on her teacher’s piano prior to each lesson. She progressed to accompanying all types of musical events at her school and church. She was the church organist for the Hunter Lutheran Church for over 50 years, playing for countless church services, weddings and funerals. She also gave piano lessons throughout her lifetime. She passed her love of music on to her children, as piano, instrumental and vocal music were constantly heard and played in the Widley household.
Phyllis was the backbone of her family. She loved to host gatherings at the farm, where extended family met for everything from holidays to birthdays to spur-of-the-moment get-togethers. Phyllis was an excellent cook and baker and no one left her home hungry.
Phyllis devoted many hours each week to the Hunter Lutheran Church, not only to practice and play the organ for Sunday services, but also as a member of the Ladies Aid. Her children recall that, on Saturday afternoons, their mom would drive into town to practice for Sunday service, and then on Sunday mornings she’d drive in separate from the rest of the family to prepare processional music before worshipers arrived and then stayed after service to serve coffee with the Ladies Aid. Phyllis found great strength and joy in her faith.
Later in life, Phyllis and Merle moved to a lovely, cozy house in Hunter. A high point was their daily visit from the children of the Little Steps Preschool, who would climb up on their porch for stories, hugs and, sometimes, a cookie.
Phyllis is survived by her three daughters, Robyn Widley, New Brighton, MN, Lori Jo (Dan) Plambeck, Fargo, and Julie (Brian) Schnell, Edina, MN; six grandchildren, John and Jesse Plambeck, Stephanie (Austin) Stanfill, Hayley (Tyler) Erstad, Jordie and Jaime Schnell; sisters Audrey Binger, West Fargo, ND, and Roberta (Leo) Pulskamp, Grand Rapids, MN; sister-in-law Jeanne Zimmerman, Grand Forks, ND; and several nieces and nephews.
Phyllis is preceded in death by her loving husband Merle, her blessed son Brian, her parents, and her brothers-in-law Jim Binger and Laverne Zimmerman.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church in Hunter or a charity of your choice.
Funeral: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022 at 11 AM at First Lutheran Church, Hunter with visitation one hour prior.
Burial: Hunter Cemetery.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center