Isabella Janina Phipps was born February 11, 1956 in London, England, and passed away in my arms at our home in Kneeland on March 20, 2013 following a brief illness. Our last words, spoken every day of our 29 years of marriage, were "I love you". Isabella was the daughter of Ewa and Slawomir (Sam) Niesterowicz. Proud of her Polish heritage, she occasionally teased me in that language just to see the confused look on my face. She is survived by her husband Bob Phipps of Kneeland, son Jon Phipps of Portland, Oregon, daughter Katie Phipps of Eugene, Oregon, mother Ewa Niesterowicz of San Ramone, sister Wanda Niesterowicz of San Francisco, brother Chris Niesterowicz (and wife Paris) of Finchville, Maryland, brother-in-law Richard Phipps (and wife Tika) of Morro Bay, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins in Australia and England. Growing up in San Francisco, Hawaii, and Washington gave Isabella an appreciation for different people and their communities, an openness that she retained all her life. At age eighteen she traveled by herself through England and Poland (at that time still separated from the west by the "iron curtain"). When slightly older she traveled through Wales and Scotland, spending a brief time in the enlightened community of Findhorn (to the later amusement of her son Jon). Completing her Special Education degree in 1979, Isabella began a life long passion for our community's children. Student teaching at Freshwater School was followed by twenty years of teaching at East High in Fortuna and Peninsula School in Samoa. During this time she touched the lives of countless students, many who have kept in contact with her as adults to this day. She also made many deep parent and teacher friendships that have continued long after her class room years ended. Completing the circle, Isabella mentored several student teachers as a part of their Humboldt State degree program. Changing careers, Isabella returned to school, became proficient in book keeping and office management, and joined the Nilsen Company for many years of enjoyable (and often amusing) employment. She was very involved in the current modernization of the accounting and billing and was looking forward with glee to "the last hand tag". Like all of her experiences, her relationship with Nilsen's became part of a larger "family" (and, as usual, she was often "mom"). Isabella was a "charter member" of Humboldt Crossfit and their "poster child" for the power of positive thinking. She took every workout seriously and was so proud of her accomplishments and (more importantly) of those around her who shared her dedication. She considered her HCF friendships as a gift. This bond will remain forever because "she will always be our HCF team angel", undoubtedly encouraging other angels to persevere through "just one more wall ball" (and talking excitedly about it afterwards). Residing in Humboldt County since 1975, Isabella has been a part of the Kneeland community since 1984 where we built our home together and raised our beautiful children Jon and Katie. Along the way so many lifelong friends were made, both children and adults. Most recently Isabella has been Treasurer for the Kneeland Volunteer Fire Department, giving back to her community in yet one more way. With our children successfully "launched", Isabella and I were dedicated to living each day completely, be it at work, or snowboarding, or just enjoying the pleasure of each other's company. We ended each day with nothing left unsaid. In spite of my sorrow for losing you way too soon, the peace that comes from never having taken your love for granted is the strength that will see me through In lieu of flowers, the family of Isabella Phipps asks that you contribute to your community in any amount and manner of your choosing. There will be a celebration of Isabella's life on March 30th at Freshwater Elementary School at 2:00pm. Please join us and come with your favorite "Isabella story" to tell. Please sign the guest book at www.Times-Standard.com, click obits.
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Published in Eureka Times-Standard from Mar. 27 to Mar. 30, 2013