August 31, 1930 - August 7, 2019
Mom was an only child, born in Great Falls, Montana, on August 31, 1930, to Leonard and Mae Rensch. She spent her early years in Washington State and was educated at Seattle University where she obtained a degree in Elementary Education. She married William (Bill) Phipps on July 31, 1954, and together they created a loving home for five children born in Yakima and Olympia. A move to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1973 was followed by a permanent move to Arizona in 1977, residing in Tempe and the Sunbird Community in Chandler.
Mom was a devout Catholic, loved the Lord and Virgin Mary, and enveloped our family in grace with her daily prayers and devotions. She didn’t smoke, drink or swear. Dad did some of each, which made them an interesting pair. Mom ran hot. Dad ran cold. When dad moved the family to Arizona, mom suffered in the heat, but held out hope it would improve her chances of reaching Heaven, as she’d “already been to Hell.”
Mom was the kindest, friendliest and most caring person many had ever met. She talked to everyone, and listened too. In some ways she was out of step with the times. She had intelligence without ego; beauty without vanity; morals without judgement, and was wealthy in every way but monetarily. She always knew her neighbors (and their neighbors too!), enjoyed fun times with the Red Hat ladies and cherished her friends, many of whom went back in time to her college days. Her eyesight waned in her later years, and her memory and mental faculties were robbed by Alzheimer’s, but her endearing smile, warm touch and gentle spirit prevailed until the end. Thank you mom for the example you set and the love we always felt.
The family extends special thanks to Victor and Rachel De Jesus of Aloe Haven Assisted Living Home and Mariana Bortis and family with Country Estates Assisted Living Home for the wonderful care they gave mom in her declining years.
Mom was preceded in death by Bill. Their lives will continue to be celebrated by their five children and their spouses: Brad and Jane (Sunnyvale CA), Jim and Susan (Tempe AZ), Brian and Robin (Mesa AZ), Molly and Jeff Saxton (Monument CO) and Michele Cavanaugh Carlson (Chandler AZ), her five nephews and a niece, and 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 at St. Steven’s Catholic Church, 24827 S. Dobson Road, Sun Lakes, AZ. A luncheon in the Parish Hall will follow the service. In mom’s memory, donations may be sent to Sunbird Kare Bears, 6250 S. Sunbird Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85249. Interment will be Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix.