Celebration of Life
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019
3:00 PM
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Phylis Carol Rutherford "Fleece" Dennis

1919 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Phylis Carol Rutherford "Fleece" Dennis Obituary
Phylis "Fleece" Carol Rutherford Dennis
August 22, 1919-December 7, 2018
Fleece Dennis passed away peacefully on December 7, 2018. Born in Oakland to Rosalie Sarah Hewett and William Thomas Rutherford, Fleece grew up in Piedmont with her two sisters and brother. She graduated from Piedmont High School and attended U.C. Berkeley, later working at the American Trust Company in "the City."
Fleece met her future husband, Cmdr. Milton Kibler "Luke" Dennis, a Navy pilot from Maryland, when she attended her sister Katie's wedding to a Marine pilot in 1945. The couple was stationed all over the U.S., in England and Morocco. Their daughter, Daphne, was born in Georgia in 1946 and Kim, in Illinois in 1950. As the wife of the Squadron Commander, Fleece provided support to the other families while the husbands were away on tours, and entertained everyone when the Squadron was home. Fleece was particularly well suited to both roles. In 1957, Luke was killed in a mid-air collision during a training mission while stationed at Moffett Field, Palo Alto.
Thereafter, Fleece moved her young family to Hawaii briefly, and then to Carmel. She worked in both men's and women's specialty retail in Carmel and Pebble Beach. Fleece dedicated herself to a wide range of local organizations, including: The Monterey Museum of Art and Jesters, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Carmel Heritage, Children's Home Society, PAC Rep, Monterey Opera, and The Salvation Army. Close to her heart were Colleagues for the Arts, of which she was a founding member, and The Carmel Women's Club, serving on the board and handling rentals of the building.
Fleece brought her love of people, music, design, flowers and gardens to everything she did. Her optimism and "look to the future" attitude helped her overcome challenges and propelled her to a life dedicated to helping others–while having a hell of a good time herself!
Fleece was pre-deceased by her parents and husband; sister, Rosalie Aleene Rutherford Kahler; brother, William Hewett Rutherford; brother-in-law, Lt. Colonel Dean Wilker, and his grandson, Chris Warren.
Fleece is survived by her sister, Kathleen Louise "Katie" Rutherford Wilker; daughters, Daphne Dennis and Kim Dennis White; sons-in-law, John Given and Richard White; grandchildren, Samantha Given-Dennis, Tyler White, Travis White-Lusk, and special family friend Will Romanik. Her nieces, nephews and their families: Robert Dean "Robb" and Diana Wilker; Kerry Warren; Joyce and Lane Spain; Richard and Nancy Kahler; Peter and Barbara Kahler; Cathy, Debra, Thomas, and Robert Rutherford.
Our family is grateful to senior companion and friend, Cynthia Hollins, who enriched Fleece's life immeasurably. Donations in Fleece's memory may be made to the Carmel Women's Club's youth scholarship program, Box 2674, Carmel, 93921. A celebration for Fleece will be held on Wednesday, February 13 at 3:00 p.m. in Carmel. Please email [email protected] for information.

View the online memorial for Phylis "Fleece" Carol Rutherford Dennis
Published in The Monterey Herald on Jan. 11, 2019
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