Big Lake resident, Esther Irene Phillips, 85, died March 4, 2011, at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer.
Services will be held Friday, March 11, 2011, at 1 p.m., at the Willow United Methodist Church, Mile 67.5 Parks Highway, in Willow. Pastor Dan Lush will officiate. Viewing will be held one hour prior to the services. Mrs. Phillips will be interred at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery.
Mrs. Phillips was born Feb. 8, 1926, in Boulder, Colo. She married Orville "Phil" Phillips, and worked in a war factory during World War II while her husband was overseas. After the war the couple moved to a farm in Montana where Mrs. Phillips tried her hand at raising chickens and farming. Mrs. Phillips always said, "those were the best years of my life."
The Phillips moved to Alaska in 1960 and lived in Soldotna. Mrs. Phillips worked at the 4 Royal Parkers Restaurant and at the U.S. post office in Soldotna until 1988.
Mrs. Phillips enjoyed the outdoors, spending hours in her garden, smoking fish, making a home for her family and enjoying all Alaska had to offer. The couple bought a boat "The Partly Mine," where they spent many summer days in Kachemak Bay fishing and enjoying their grandchildren. Winters were filled with snowmachine trips to the Caribou Hills with friends and family. The couple also spent a couple of years gold mining in Healy and Summit Lake.
The couple moved to the Lower 48 when Mr. Phillips became ill. They returned to Alaska in 1994 and settled in Houston. When her husband died Mrs. Phillips moved to Big Lake to be close to her granddaughter, Michelle, and great grandchildren.
Her family said: "Esther was not a quitter and fought for life the best she could. She enjoyed gardening, fishing, canning, boating and snowmachining. Known as "Les" to her friends and family, always with a cup of coffee in hand, she shared a full life with her husband Phil for 58 years."
Mrs. Phillips was preceded in death by her husband.
She is survived by her sons and daughters in-law, Thomas H. and Gloria "Lynn" Phillips and Alan R. and Billie Jean Phillips; granddaughter Eylene L. and her husband, Charlie Gettel; granddaughter, Michelle J. Phillips and her partner Elijah J. Stoll; grandson, Alan "Roger" Phillips, Jr. and his wife, Rica; granddaughter, Maerene Taylor; nine great-grandchildren; former son in-law, John H. Thompson; sisters, Helen Anderson and Alyce Adams; brothers, Gilbert "Bud" Levia and Robert "Bob" Levia.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the Blood Bank of Alaska, 4000 Laurel St, Anchorage, Alaska, 99508.
Arrangements were by the Valley Funeral Home.
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