Phyllis Laurine Cross (1934 - 2019)

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Service Information
Allnutt Funeral Service-Greeley
702 13th Street
Greeley, CO

Phyllis Laurine Cross, of rural Greeley, was born Feb. 15, 1934, in Hebron, Nebraska, to Edward and Florence (Brown) Corliss. She passed away March 14 at home at the age of 85.
Born in the midst of the Great Depression, drought and Dust Bowl, her father claimed she was the only crop he successfully raised that year. She grew up on the family farm with her parents and four siblings, living a life that was full of hard work, responsibilities, love, and family.
She graduated from Hebron High School at age 16 and was awarded the University of Nebraska's Regents Scholarship for academic excellence. During her undergraduate studies, she received a fellowship to attend Wayne State University in Detroit, where she was instrumental in developing a dignified and structured teaching program for children with cerebral palsy and other developmental challenges. She furthered her education by completing a master's degree program in special education at the then-Colorado State Teachers College.
After graduation, she began teaching special education for the Cherry Creek School District. While living in Aurora, she and her cousin, Mary attended an airman's USO St. Patrick's dance at Lowry Air Force Base as a service project for their church. At that, she met her soon to be husband, Arthur (Gene) Cross. It was love at first sight for the couple.
They married Dec. 23, 1960, in Greeley. Phyllis and Gene began their married life together at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico, and started a family. Daughters Rosemary and Sarah were born, followed by son Nathan, who passed away shortly after his birth.
Gene's military career involved extensive travel, and the family traveled together across the country, living in New Mexico, Colorado, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Michigan. Phyllis enjoyed her role as a military spouse and mother. Every move was a geographical and cultural teaching opportunity for her, as she taught the family facts and history about the landmarks they experienced along the way.
Phyllis held teaching positions in all of these locations and was active in her daughters' school activities and Girl Scouts. She was a Girl Scout leader and summer camp counselor, wearing bells tied to her shoestrings to keep bears away during hikes. Their home was an active hub for neighborhood children, as Phyllis was always coming up with fun activities that kept kids coming back. They rode bikes together, skated, skied, sledded, and camped. She taught them to cook, sew, and be crafty.
Following Gene's military retirement, the family returned to Colorado. They lived in Kersey until their daughters completed high school, moved to Brighton in 1982, eventually returning to the Kersey area.
Phyllis retired from the education field as director of the Brighton Presbyterian Children's Center in 1996. She then volunteered as an educator at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster for several years and joined a creative writing group to pursue her passion for writing short stories that were recollections of her life experiences. She thoroughly enjoyed writing and handed out books to everyone she met.
She was a cheerful and positive person with a heart of gold. She will be fondly remembered by all the people whose lives she touched over the years. What a beautiful difference one life made.
Survivors are the love of her life for 60 years, Arthur (Gene) Cross; daughters, Rosemary Churchill, of Woodinville, Washington, and Sarah (John) Wardlaw, of Greeley; grandchildren, Rory (Sarah) Scott; of Greensboro, North Carolina, Shelby and Melisa Wardlaw of Greeley, Jeff Wardlaw of Tempe, Arizona, Dillon and Madison Churchill and Evan Boldrey of Woodinville; great-grandson Declan Scott, of Greensboro; brothers, Bob (Viola) Corliss, Ken (Sharon) Corliss and Herb (Diann) Corliss of Greeley; a sister, Marilyn (Jerry) Moore, of Palisade Nebraska; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jerry (Donna) Cross and Joyce Vestal of Glendale, Arizona; a slew of cousins; 13 nieces and nephews; and her best friend for more than 60 years, Marita Kuhlenengel, of Syracuse, Nebraska.
Her parents; a son, Nathan; and a newphew, Scott Corliss, preceded her in death.
Services were March 25 at Allnutt Macy Funeral Chapel in Greeley. A brief reception and burial followed at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Greeley.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the first responders at the Platte Valley Fire Department in Kersey for their responsiveness to Phyllis' medical emergency needs over the past few years. We will be forever grateful for your services. Contributions can be made to the Platte Valley Fire Department, in Phyllis' honor, in care of Allnutt Funeral Services. Please visit to send condolences to the family.
Published in Brighton Standard Blade on Mar. 27, 2019
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