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Gerk Funeral Home
242 N Logan
Haxtun, CO 80731
(970) 774-7272

Phyllis Starkebaum


1921 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Phyllis Starkebaum Obituary
Phyllis Verdell Starkebaum, 92, died on Aug. 7, 2014. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at the Haxtun United Methodist Church. In lieu of a graveside ceremony, visitation and lunch will follow in the social hall. Phyllis was born at home on Dec. 26, 1921 to John and Hilma Bentson Anderson. She attended grade school in Fairfield, transferred to Haxtun High School her sophomore year, and graduated in 1939. Because of the distance to school, she boarded in Haxtun and went home on weekends. She enrolled at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley and after two years received a State Elementary Teacher's Certificate. Her Teacher's Contract with the Holyoke Schools started in the fall of 1941. She taught third grade and was paid $810 per month. The contract contained a clause that "marriage during life of the contract automatically cancels said contract" so when she and Lorin were married on Aug. 8, 1943, she no longer taught school. Phyllis and Lorin initially lived in a small house in the windbreak west of Lorin's (Gustav and Martha Starkebaum) parents' home. Four years later they moved one-half mile east and one mile north to the place where they lived for the next 55 years. In 1952, the original house was moved to Haxtun and a new home was built. A few years later they added a swimming pool which was the site of many parties and good times by family members and friends. In 2002, Phyllis and Lorin moved to a new home three-quarters of a mile south. With a view for miles in all directions she could see her old home, now Staci and Adam's home and vet clinic, Richard and Cathy's farm, Brian and Sammi's home and John and Janice Everitt's home. Phyllis was the support system behind Lorin's activities. In the early years she worked on the farm, driving truck at harvest and doing other field work. She managed all of this with three young children. She cracked the whip when it came time to hoe the windbreak trees - no breakfast until you have hoed 1/2 mile of trees - and she would be out there with us! The Johnson property just south of their home was where her father (John T. Anderson) lived when he came with his parents from Sweden. It was special to her and she was glad when it came back into the family. Phyllis was known by all for her love of cooking. From leaving detailed meal instructions for her daughters in the early years, to her last thoughts of "how many will be here for lunch tomorrow?" she was known for organizing enough food for friends and family who were always welcome for meals. Gardening was a summer task that carried on well into winter. She always made sure to have a stocked freezer and pantry including frozen beans and corn, canned pickles, peaches, pears and tomatoes. Recipes and "how to's" were written down and passed on. Her raspberry jam and Thousand Island dressing were relished by all. Phyllis was active in the United Methodist church: singing in choir the years Lorin and Pat were choir directors; church treasurer for several years; and participating in UMW and UNO including holding many of the local and district offices. As a parent, grandma and great-grandma, she supported 4-H projects, music, sports, academics and many other activities. Phyllis and Lorin traveled the world together, frequently with friends and family, or visiting friends and family. They traveled to most of the United States, India, China, New Zealand, Mexico, Sweden, Germany and other parts of Europe. Notable family trips included a trip to Panama to visit Nancy and George in the Peace Corps, to Hawaii several times but with the kids and their spouses in 1981, to Disney World with grandchildren in 1982, and an Alaskan cruise in 2001. Since Lorin died, Phyllis was blessed by the support of her family and friends, but especially the support of John Everitt. He would keep her up to date on the status of the farm at their noon meals and patiently helped her with the tasks when she needed help. Phyllis is survived by: her three children, Patricia Meakins, Nancy (George) Wallace and Richard (Cathy) Starkebaum; seven grandchildren, Steven (Heather) Meakins, Mark (Cheryl) Meakins, David Wallace, Thomas Wallace, Staci (Adam) Tempel, Brian (Sammi) Starkebaum and Jodi (David) Haley; and 11 great-grandchildren, Elijah and Erika Meakins, Samantha, Nathaniel and Lydia Meakins, Christopher Wallace, Tyler, Ryan and Maclin Tempel and Bobbi and Baron Starkebaum and a host of nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her husband Lorin; her son-in-law, Richard Meakins; her siblings and their spouses, Bob and Violet Mae Anderson, Arvid and Helen Anderson and Frieda and Jake Ricker, her brother-in-law and spouse, Norman and Florence Starkebaum, her sister-in-law Ethelyn Starkebaum In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Phyllis Starkebaum Memorial Fund in care of Gerk Funeral Home, 242 N. Logan, Haxtun, CO 80731. We will miss her greatly, but she is at home with her savior.
Published in Journal Advocate on Aug. 13, 2014
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