Phyllis Soo Byrum age 89, passed away at home in Woodland, CA on December 11, 2020. She was born in Oakland, CA on July 18, 1931 where she lived until she moved to Berkeley, CA. She met her husband at Contra Costa College in San Pablo; they married and had 6 children. She lived in many cities within the Bay Area, Somerville, NJ, Yorba Linda, CA, Manteca, CA and Lodi, CA. In the later years of her life, her time was split between her daughters' homes in Mount Vernon, WA and Woodland, CA. Phyllis was also cared for in her final years by her granddaughter Tara.
Phyllis was the youngest and only daughter of a single mother, because at age 12 her father died. She frequently spent time at her 2 older brother's Texaco service station in Berkeley. She and her mother both grew up in generations where Asian women lived through very challenging times in America. She blossomed under the care and protection of her mother, becoming a very respected and generous person in every community she lived in. Phyllis made herself comfortable in just about every environment and all those that met her felt that they had acquired a new friend. After her children were able to fend for themselves, Phyllis became a rural postal carrier for the US Postal Service in the mid 70's and if that wasn't enough to keep her busy, she worked with the community Welcome Wagon and was a top seller for Avon products for many years.
Phyllis was a longtime member of the Church of Christ in Lodi, CA for over 47 years. She had an unwavering faith in God and trusted in the goodness of humankind - if she worried it didn't show. This gave her strength and kept a smile on her face. She enjoyed her life and thrived on doing as much as she could. Phyllis was happy. Phyllis always seemed to be there in someone's time of need and her presence was quiet but strong. She was very well read with her favorite book being the Bible, reading it daily. Phyllis is described as resilient, adaptable, appreciative, special, intelligent, witty, frugal, a champion of trivia, loving, funny, kind and adventuresome. She loved to travel and of course she was gracious, grateful, giving, glad, generous, goofy & gorgeous (beautiful inside and out).
Phyllis is survived by her children, Margaret Walters of Vallejo CA, Peter Byrum of Stockton CA, Merry Byrum of Mount Vernon WA and Cathy Byrum-Bergersen of Woodland CA; grandchildren, Vannesa Paulson, Tara Wallis, Rigel Bloome, Britney Fredrickson, Chris Engholm, Bryce Engholm, Lyndsey Skidmore and Kevin Byrum-Thorson; great grandchildren, Kaymin, Jevion, Malachi, Mira, Will, Rorek, Melia, Penelope, Alara, Samuel and Sebastian. Other surviving family members include son-in-law, Brian Bergersen; nieces, Genevieve, Darlene, Maryann, Virginia; and nephew, Johnnie Jr.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, Soo Bing Hoy, Ruth Ming Soo Quan; stepfather, Warren Quan; brothers, John Soo, James Soo and Robert Soo; sister, Alice Williams; father of her children, Richard "Dick" Byrum; sons, David Byrum and William "Billy" Byrum; mother-in-law, Sadie Irene Johnson; daughter-in-law, Lois Thorson; and son-in-law, Charles (Rick) Walters.
Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, January 18, 2021 at Collins Family Funeral Home, 123 N School St., Lodi, CA 95240. Burial will follow in Cherokee Memorial Park.
Published in Lodi-News Sentinel from Jan. 9 to Jan. 15, 2021.