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Phyllis Dexter


1937 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Phyllis Dexter Obituary
Phyllis Dexter

of Indianapolis, IN, died on May 30, 2017, of ALS at St. Vincent Hospice. She was born on July 4, 1937, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Helen and Melvin Jordahl.  Phyllis studied piano for 16 years as a child and was the assistant organist at her small Lutheran church for several years.  She attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota for two years, then transferred to the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing.  Later she received a PhD in sociology from Indiana University.

As a nursing student at the U of M, Phyllis met a young resident in internal medicine, Richard Dexter, and they were married in Minneapolis in 1961.  Subsequently, they lived in Bethesda, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee, before settling in Indianapolis, where Rick was on the IU School of Medicine faculty for the next 48 years.

Phyllis was employed briefly at the U of M Hospitals and at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda before starting a family.  After several years at home with small children, she worked for two years at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis as a staff nurse.  In 1973, she joined the Indiana University School of Nursing, working there part time for the next 43 years, since 1991 as the Scientific Editor in the Center for Research.  Phyllis was much appreciated by IU faculty and students as a mentor at a time when the school was developing a stronger research focus.  As one faculty colleague wrote at the time of her retirement, she had "the expertise and kindness that has made an incredible impact on so many at the school."

Phyllis is survived by husband Rick, son Paul (Diana), daughter Susan Quasney, grandchildren Eric and Ryan Quasney and Gregory and Julia Dexter, sisters Ruth Ann Anderson (Maurice) and Leone Larson (Tom Moen), and four nieces and nephews.  The strong support of family and friends was extremely important in helping Phyllis cope with a difficult disease.  Thanks also go to the staff at the Indiana University ALS Clinic, Marquette Retirement Community, and St. Vincent Hospice for their compassionate end-of-life care.

After a private funeral service for family, interment will be in the columbarium at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.  Memorial gifts may be sent to the Phyllis Dexter Discretionary Dean's Fund at the Indiana University School of Nursing.

She will be greatly missed.

Arrangements: Indiana Funeral Care
Published in the The Indianapolis Star on June 1, 2017
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