Phyllis Embley
1939 - 2020
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Phyllis Thompson Embley
May 10, 1939 ~ August 6, 2020
"I wonder if it wouldn't have been a better idea for spouses to pass away together?" Those were the sentiments of Phyllis's husband, Michael, the morning after she died. We all feel a huge loss already, and her eternal companion (of 62 years) most of all.
Phyllis Thompson Embley passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, August 6, surrounded by her four children and their spouses -- Lourie (Brian), Craig (Kimberly), Charles (Ruth), and Steven (Heidi). Phyllis suffered in recent months with COPD.
Phyllis was born May 10, 1939 in Payson, Utah (at the hospital closest to her hometown of Ephraim, Utah). She is the daughter of Amber Jewel King and Thomas Kimball Thompson. Phyllis's father died when she was an infant, and she was raised with tenderness and immense love by her stepfather Lendal Grant Larsen.
Phyllis was a master educator and a lifelong learner. After graduating from Manti High School, she attended Snow College, the University of Utah, Southern Utah University, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University. She received a number of degrees from those institutions, including two doctorate degrees. Phyllis taught elementary school (kindergarten and fifth grade) and later was a professor at the University of Utah, Utah State and BYU. For many years she was an administrator for Jordan School District. She also served on the Governor's commission on education, including as the commission's president.
Phyllis's family, including her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her greatest joy. Phyllis and Mike have sixteen grandchildren (Michael, Ryan, Jessica, Robert, Marianne, Thomas, Sarah, Brittany, Jacob, Laura Lee, Brooke, Katie, Alicia, Rachel, Bradley and Alison) and eighteen great-grandchildren (Camden, Everett, Turner, Amos, Brielle, Emerson, Daphne, Dezmon, Thea, Grady, Savannah, Shawnie, Vivienne, Ellie, Cormick, Brooklyn, Claire and Lily with three more on the way). Beyond that, there were countless others (sons, daughters and grandchildren) whom Phyllis loved and called her own.
Siblings and in-laws were a joyous part of Phyllis's life. They are Tom, Margie (Rod), Merrill (Nedra), Grant (Linda), Kent (Camille) and Ron (Sherrie). John (Pat), Kathy (Terry) and Reed (Doris).
In their fifties, Phyllis and Mike began to train for marathons and ran a number of them together. They also spent a great deal of time simply walking, and they walked the world and their own neighborhood with the shared desire to find people they could help and cheer. Phyllis and Mike spent over a decade serving six full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including 2 amazing years in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Recently, Phyllis was asked whether she felt anything had been left undone? After only a moment of reflection, she responded that she had seen all the places she'd ever wanted to see and accomplished all that she had ever set out to do.
In addition to the care her sweet husband gave, one of Phyllis's greatest blessings was the compassionate care of her son Steve, who was her doctor.
A graveside service will be held at Elysian Gardens Cemetery at 1075 E. 4580 S. Salt Lake City, on Wednesday, August 12, at 9:00 am. A viewing will be held at the beginning and the ending of that service. Everyone is welcome to this outdoor service. We ask that all who attend please wear a mask. Because seating is limited, we encourage you to bring lawn chairs or other seating. Flowers may be sent to Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary at 1007 West South Jordan Parkway, in South Jordan, Utah. Or if you wish, you may donate in her memory to the LDS Church's missionary fund or to an educational charity of your choice. To read thoughts, offer condolences. share memories and view the live stream, visit www.jenkins-soffe.com.
"Phyllis, nofa a; 'ofa atu."

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Deseret News from Aug. 9 to Aug. 10, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
September 14, 2020
To Mike and the Embley family, David and I want to express our sympathy and love during this difficult time. We have loved our friendship and good memories over the years. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Phyllis was always kind and gracious with a beautiful smile for everyone.
David and Kay Johnson
September 8, 2020
I had the special privilege of working with Phyllis at the Jordan School District Curriculum Office for several years. My office was just 2 doors down from hers in the curriculum department. She was (is) without doubt one of the kindest, classiest and brilliant women I've ever known. Just by being around her and watching her work taught me so much about how to think things through, process ideas and above all, how to treat others with respect and compassion. It was very rare to see her without that beautiful smile. We retired the same year, she as consultant over Science and Gifted and Talented programs and I over Fine Arts, Health & PE. A year or two after retirement I had traveled to Hawaii to do presentation for the Hawaii Music Educators Association. While waiting in the airport for a flight who to my surprise should I run into but Phyllis and Michal as they were awaiting a flight to their mission destination in Tonga. We had a great opportunity to re-connect and I knew these two were destined to positively influence the lives of many. What a wonderful example she has been to all of us fortunate enough to know her. I wish the family much comfort and peace as they reflect on the life of this great lady!
Julie Christofferson
Coworker
August 17, 2020
Dear Mike, Chuck, Steve, Lourie, Craig and family,
I am so grateful for my friendship and interactions with Phyllis. Her support, encouragement, inclusion, laughter, and love made a difference in my life. What a wonderful and beautiful woman! I can only imagine how deeply her absence is felt. My prayers and love to all of you during this difficult adjustment as well as the peace and comfort of the Savior.
Lisa Kilburn Arntsen
Friend
August 17, 2020
My heartfelt sympathy for all of you at this time! I loved Phyllis so very much❣It is so hard to lose those we love and let go for now! I have no doubt she will be close by! She was such a gracious beautiful woman! Love and prayers for you all❤
April Gregg Scott Davis
April Scott Davis
Friend
August 13, 2020
Phyllis was a grate class mate and a very good Friend in High School. I send my deepest sympathy to the family.
Chris Willardsen
Friend
August 11, 2020
Whispering Love Arrangement - BASKET INCLUDED
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a loved one
August 10, 2020
Because of Phyllis, my kids were in ALPS. I followed suit. I’m in ALPS, too — I teach!!! She changed lives. She will be missed, but her legacy lives on!
Lori Nicketson
Coworker
August 10, 2020
Phyllis was an excellent educator and a joy to work with. She left this world a much better place for all of us to enjoy.
Spencer Young
Coworker
August 10, 2020
Mike,
I am so grateful that Heavenly Father through his son Jesus Christ has made it that families can be together forever. I know you miss her, but you will be with her again. These are important parts of our testimony’s.
Love,
John Del Porto ( Carla’s husband )
John Del Porto
Friend
August 10, 2020
Our sympathies to Mike and family. It was a pleasure to
work with Phyllis in Jordan School District. She was a fierce
advocate for G/T students and a calm, understanding
problem solver for issues and for people with concerns.
She has left a lasting mark on the success of G/T programs
that continues today. Chris Ball
Gene and Chris Ball
Coworker
August 10, 2020
Living Spirit Dishgarden
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Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Dale L Birch
August 9, 2020
Peaceful Passage Arrangement
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Sympathy Gift courtesy of
John Embley
August 9, 2020
Mike, Chuck, Steve, and entire Embley family, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Phyllis. What a fantastic lady. I have fond memories of Phyllis as she supported her son's athletic endeavors at Granger High School. I was always appreciative of the support she and Mike gave our football program. May the good Lord be with your entire family during this difficult time.
Mike Fraser
Friend
August 9, 2020
She was my hometown hero . Grew up in Ephraim. Lived by Phyllis in Westshire. She tutored children with love. Mike and Phyllis were so full of love and showed that to everyone..
Laura Anderson Bradley
Friend
August 9, 2020
Dr. Embley was such an amazing person. She had such a big influence on my life which I will forever be grateful for. I always appreciated her willingness to help and teach me. She was so kind and had such an infectious smile that I always knew she was a friend in my corner.
Michele (Vincent) Rasmussen
Friend
August 9, 2020
I admired Phyllis Embley greatly and treasure fond memories of her. She was a great gift to our world in many ways. No doubt she will continue gifting in the spirit world. Heavenly Father welcomes her with open arms. I love her family left behind and pray peace and comfort for them all.
Ann Gregg
August 9, 2020
Mrs. Embley was my 5th grade teacher. She was an inspiration to me. I am 47 now, and the thought of her class still brings a smile to my face. She was confident that we would all do great things with our lives. I remember her always being happy and positive, and I was so excited to reconnect a few years ago and learn of all the amazing things she has been doing. Prayers and love to all her family. Thank you for sharing her sunshine with the rest of us! ❤
Karyn Bates Anderson
Student
August 8, 2020
She was a great Sunday School Teacher. Close Friend.
Von Buxton
Friend
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