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News Death Notice
BLOCHER, Phyllis B. resident of The Knolls of Oxford, died peacefully in the presence of family on January 13th, 2013. Her life was infused with love for the written word, and although she lost her famed aptitude for Scrabble and crossword puzzles in recent years, she had passed on her joy of reading to hundreds of students during her 19 years in the Columbus (OH) City School System and at the North Broadway Nursery School for five years before. That love of language and learning was transmitted to her five grateful children, Joann, John David, Kathy, Mary, and Richard, along with the deep and abiding love of music and nature that filled their household. Born Phyllis Joan Burke in Cleveland, Ohio, on 7 June 1920, to Elizabeth (Smith) Burke and Robert Matthew Burke, she graduated from Lorain High School in 1938. She attended Baldwin-Wallace College where she met her husband, John, singing together in the Bach Festival Choirs. They were married on July 12, 1941, after which she left Baldwin-Wallace and earned her B.A. in Education at The Ohio State University where John had gone for graduate study. A technical detour took them to Oak Ridge and the seclusion of the Manhattan Project, for which John worked. On return to OSU at war's end in 1945, Phyllis managed her growing family and supported John in completion of his Ph.D. In 1981 she earned a M.A. in Education from O.S.U. to close her teaching career. After 35 active years of home and work life, domestic and international travel, and singing in the King Ave Methodist Church Choir, John and Phyllis retired to Oxford, Ohio, on the edge of the Silvoor Biological Sanctuary and just down the lane from daughter Kathy and three grandchildren. They became active members of the Oxford United Methodist Church and its choir, the Oxford Audubon Society, and the Institute for Learning in Retirement. In 2001 they moved to the Knolls of Oxford. In addition to her grateful husband, John, Phyllis is survived by daughters Joann B. Alexander (Tim Tilton), Bloomington, IN; Kathryn McGrew (David C.), Oxford, OH; Mary (Marianne Iauco), Watertown MA; son Richard (Janice Finedore), Columbus, OH; fourteen grandchildren; and twelve great-grandchildren. Her sister Marjorie Burke Clark (the late Carter S.), Medina, OH, is the tie to a dearly-loved family of nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Phyllis was preceded in death by son Dr. John David (Terry Smith), Phoenix, AZ. A service commemorating Phyllis's life will be held later this year. Her ashes will rest in a place beloved by her and her family. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts should be made to The Knolls of Oxford or to the Alzheimer's Foundation. The family wishes to thank the staff at The Knolls for their loving and respectful care and all of the family and friends who have made her life meaningful. Condolences may be sent online to www.smithoglefuneralhome.com
Published in Journal-News on Jan. 18, 2013