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Phyllis Mathias

Phyllis A. (Furniss) Mathias, a devoted woman of God, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.

On May 18, 1933, Phyllis was born in Kirkpatrick, Ohio, in Marion County. She was one of four children of the late Paul and Opal (Schertzer) Furniss. She was raised near there in New Bloomington, until she was 14 years old when her family moved to Johnsville. She graduated from Johnsville in the Class of 1951, and then received a degree from the Columbus Business School in 1952.

Following school, Phyllis married Lawrence Rinehart. Together they lovingly raised five children. After Lawrence's unexpected passing in 1971, Phyllis added to her role of busy homemaker to begin work for the Galion City School system. She was the personal secretary of the Superintendent during many of her 27 years of service, retiring in 1999.

Getting a second chance at love, Phyllis married her loving husband, Pastor Jerry Mathias, on October 18, 1986. Together they have shared over 26 wonderful years of marriage, and have been blessed with a combined family of 88.

With a gift for playing music, Phyllis loved to tickle the ivory keys of a piano with her heart and soul. She loved to play the piano for every church she held membership and many others. She has shared her talent ministering to ABC of Westerville, Bryn Zion Baptist Church in Mount Gilead, First Baptist Church in Mount Gilead and Galion (where Phyllis and Jerry met), First Presbyterian Church in Mount Gilead, Grace Baptist Church in Crestline, and Community Bible Church in Galion.

Phyllis responded to a need for volunteers with Child Evangelism Fellowship. She was trained in sharing the ""Good News"" of Jesus Christ with children and she taught them in local Good News Clubs. She also was very involved in Vacation Bible School teaching the stories of the good news of Christ Jesus using her gift of drama. She taught children's church, and created wordless books sharing the salvation through colors and meanings.

An expressive story writer, Phyllis enjoyed writing ""A History in the Bicentennial Year 1976"" for the Johnsville School Alumni Association on June 12, 1976. She also was a member of the '51 Gals Club, PTA, Girl Scouts, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Mother's Club, the Red Hat Society, Twig, and Emmaus Walk. Some hobbies she enjoyed were bowling, making oil paintings and crafts, photography, creative memory scrapbooking, puzzles, crossword puzzles, and reading.

One of a kind, Phyllis was a special lady for so many reasons. She was a devoted child of God, a loving pastor's wife, a loving mom, grandma and great-grandma to her family, all of whom she cherished deeply. When she faced hardships, she never complained, instead she found reasons to focus on all of the other blessings she has had in life.

She will be affectionately remembered by her husband, Jerry Mathias; five children: Laura (Jim) Webber, Bryan Rinehart, Cheryl (Jeff) Mason, Amanda Smith, and Fred (Ferrol) Rinehart; five step-children: Diana (Kenny) Tyree, Karen (Jeff) Booher, John (Melanie) Mathias, Rich (Maria) Mathias, and Margie (Jeff) Brown; 27 grandchildren with 8 spouses and 2 significant others, and 31 great-grandchildren; two siblings; Linda (Jim) Erwin, and Larry (Melissa) Furniss; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Including her parents, Phyllis was preceded in death by her first husband, Lawrence Rinehart; and a brother, Robert Furniss.

Phyllis' family will greet friends from 4 – 7 p.m. on Friday, July 26, 2013, at the Snyder Funeral Home, Craven Chapel, 67 N. Main St., Mount Gilead. Services celebrating her homecoming will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, 2013, at the First Baptist Church, 51 West High St., Mount Gilead, with Pastor Josh Melvin officiating. Burial will be observed privately in Bryn Zion Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Morrow County, 228 South St., Mount Gilead, OH 43338, or Child Evangelism Fellowship of MARCK, P.O. Box 67, Mansfield, OH 44901-0067.

Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead are honored to have been chosen to serve Phyllis' family and your private condolences may be expressed to them by visiting www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.

Published in The Morrow County Sentinel on July 31, 2013
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