By Debbie Humphrey, daughter
Who was Phila? What was she like as a mother? What do you remember of her life?
She was strong in her faith. She took us to church every Sunday as a family. Then for decades, she went to church alone, even when the Alzheimer's prevented her from doing daily tasks.
Phila loved her family, especially being a mother. When you see family photos, you can see the look of love in her eyes. All the children can say, “We had a happy childhood.” Phila was naturally nurturing. She expected good behavior, and we were gently guided in that direction. She was like “June Cleaver.” She set a good example. She was fair, supportive and we all felt her love.
Our mother was smart/academic, to include common sense. (BS from IU, MS EU, and started PhD course work) She loved learning. It was important to her that her children be educated. She facilitated that throughout our life time. When we were little, and needed practice reading, that was a priority. She sat next to us and listened to us read. She was a mother and a teacher. She would answer every question. She would explain “why” several ways. She did not do our home work, but we knew it was important that we excel in school, to the best of our ability. She believed that parents should help their children to a career – be it a 6 month receptionist trade school or a College degree.
Phila was fun! Fashion was fun. Gardening was fun. Traveling was fun. She loved animals. We had dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, a goat, hamsters, birds and horses. (Not all at once.) She loved to read. She learned Ikebana, Japanese cooking, bowling, and participated in various service organizations. She was a real go-getter. We took every opportunity there was, to visit historic sites or museums. She shared her enthusiasm for life with her children. She wanted us to participate in educational and enriching activities: Scouting, Dance lessons, Sunday school, art and drama lessons, whatever sport we wanted to try, family ski trips, sewing lessons, cooking, and horseback riding.
She became a successful business woman, just like her own mother, Helen. Phila was not afraid of hard work. Yes, she was a stay at home mom, just like the rest of her generation. However when the children grew up, she pursued a real estate career. She sold houses, then mountain land, and later worked as a property manager for another company before she became the president of her mother's company, Cole Real Estate.
Phila leaves a little bit of herself in all her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed music, dancing and singing, like Debbie -- she was reasonable like Robert (and they both have a degree in History), She liked crossword games like Annie -- She liked cooking and sewing like Alison – real estate like Kris – gardening like Roxie – and was academic, like Jon and Madeline
What do I thank her for? Her patience and her kindness. She was forgiving and forgave our childhood mistakes and let us learn our way. Sometimes we took advice, sometimes we had to learn by experience. I thank her for her high standards. Our home was civilized, free from emotional and physical violence. (Yes we were punished for misbehavior. We were grounded, given additional duties or fined.) Our home was a safe and healthy place to grow. Most of all I thank her for loving us equally and unconditionally.