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Phyllis Davis

1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Phyllis Davis Obituary
Davis, Phyllis Starkey

Phyllis S. Davis passed away on May 20, 2017. She was born in 1921 in Duluth, MN, was a foundling, and was adopted by the Starkeys. When she was almost 7, Phyllis went to live with the d'Autremont family at her grandmother's urging, as her mother was dying of TB and the authorities would no longer let her grandparents raise her due to their age and poverty. The d'Autremonts had taken in three other children and also had four of their own. One was Cicely, a girl Phyllis's age. They remained close the rest of their lives.

When she was 9 years old, Phyllis moved with her new family to Tucson, AZ. She enjoyed living in the desert and riding horses. A highlight for her were the two summers when she attended Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs, CO. She went to High School in the East, College in New York and Tucson, and lived in New York City while attending Katherine Gibbs School. Using her secretarial skills, Phyllis worked in NY for a lawyer then a Supply Company.

Later, back in Arizona, she wanted to join the military as a WASP during WWII, so she worked to receive her pilot's license in 1944. As the military did not need new pilots, Phyllis worked for the Civil Service at Davis-Monthan AFB, then became a stewardess for American Airlines in Los Angeles for two years.

After a brief marriage that ended in 1949, Phyllis worked as a civilian for the U.S. Army at the Yokohama Engineer Depot in Japan for three years. Other than the Emperor, Phyllis was the only one to drive a red car, (hers was an MG) which she had shipped to Japan. Later, Phyllis worked with G-4 Logistics for three years at its headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. She edited quarterly publications, and was highly respected. She also did some modeling, and skied as often as possible. She left Germany in 1957 to marry John Davis, who was a Lt. Col. in the Army. They eventually were assigned to Hawaii for a wonderful three years.

In 1961, a year before Phyllis's husband retired, they moved to Glorietta, New Mexico. Later they moved north of Espanola, and eventually to Albuquerque. Phyllis studied and immersed herself in archeology while working for several summers at a site near Gallup, NM. After John died in 1984, Phyllis continued as a volunteer archeologist at many sites, including one in downtown Albuquerque's Civic Plaza.

Phyllis moved into La Vida Llena in 1995. While there she continued to volunteer, taught an archeology class at a grade school, gave lectures at La Vida Llena, and led tours to various historic New Mexico sites. Phyllis wrote many reports for publications along with Dick Bice, was recognized by the Albuquerque Archeological Society, and was the honoree of a volume of the Archeological Society of New Mexico. While at LVL, Phyllis starred in several melodramas, started an annual program to collect personal items for homeless students, continued travels to exotic places, and made new friends. She also looked forward to her annual birthday road trips with her cousin, Marcia. And at the age of 95 she enjoyed a wonderful view of the Sandia Mountains from her apartment.

Her Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, June 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., at Carter Hall in La Vida Llena Retirement Community, 10501 Lagrima de Oro NE in Albuquerque. Donations may be made to the Albuquerque Archeological Society, and/or the Archeological Society of New Mexico. Please visit our online guestbook for Phyllis at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on June 18, 2017
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