Phyllis Avanelle Conner, 96, of Mason, died at 3:10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at her home.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at the First United Methodist Church, Altamont, with Rev. Paul Olson and Rev. Paige Roberts officiating. Burial followed in Union Cemetery, Altamont. Visitation was from 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Gieseking Funeral Home, Altamont. Memorials may be made to the Altamont First United Methodist Church, where Phyllis was a member since she was a young girl.
Phyllis was born on Saturday July 9, 1921 in Effingham the daughter of Mary Edna Frances (Dowds) and Frank X. Smith. She married Melvin E. Conner on May 3, 1941 in Altamont.
In 1958 the family moved to Manhattan, IL where Phyllis experienced many new oppurtunities. She operated her own business, Phyl’s Drive-In. Phyllis was a co-leader of the Manhattan Chat’n Chu 4-H Club for 13 years. She was very proud of her work with the girls in Manhattan. She was on the Will County HEA Board. She was the Will County representative on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield State Board. She started a mom’s volleyball team and enjoyed it very much. She was a good stay-at-home mom who helped her children with their activities like 4-H and volleyball.
After moving back to rural Mason in 1976 Phyllis was a member of the Effingham County HEA for 10 years. She was the President of the Altamont First United Methodist Church UMW for six years. She contributed her childhood experiences to the documentary, The Barber’s Diaries. Phyllis was a fan of the Fighting Illini, the Blackhawks, and NASCAR. She loved her garden flowers, watching the birds, and doing word puzzles.
Phyllis is survived by her son, Colin (Marge) Conner of Knoxville, TN; her daughters, Gweneth (the late Jack) Boyer, of Mason; Evelyn (The Reverend Paul) Olson, of Carol Stream; Yvonne (the late Jack) Flanigan, of Mason; 10 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; a special granddaughter, Ronnette Chopp , of Mahomet; a special niece, Juanita Shamhart (Dave ‘Red’ Dettling) of Decatur; a special friend and caregiver, Bob; numerous nieces and nephews.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Melvin (2013); and a daughter, Rita (1988); three sons-in-law; her brother Dean Smith; her sisters, Pearl Robbins and Vivian Coffey.
A special thank you to the HSHS Hospice Southern Illinois Team.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.giesekingfh.com.