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PHYLLIS ELAINE MILLS Phyllis Elaine Christener was born on August 27, 1920 in North Plains, OR to Karl and Anne Christener who were 1st generation emigrants from Switzerland. She was baptized a Christian and grew up in North Plains. She graduated from Hillsboro, OR high school in 1938. She married LeRoy Mills June 12, 1941. They had five children: Rhett (Judy) Mills, Tony (Charlotte) Mills, Gary (Barbara) Mills, Randy (Sally) Mills, and Pam (John Packo) Mills-Packo. LeRoy farmed and worked in the shipyards while Phyllis raised the kids. In 1943 Phyllis christened the Liberty ship Lacretia Mott, one of many war ships built during WWII. In 1956 the family moved to a farm unit in Block 19 north of Pasco, WA. LeRoy drew the unit as part of a program for veterans. They lived in Mesa for 2 years until LeRoy finished their home on the farm near the soon to be Basin City. They moved to the farm and farmed until about 1979 when LeRoy sold the original unit and the 2nd one he had homesteaded. During their time on the farm they were instrumental in creating Basin City a community near the farm north of Pasco. LeRoy was a founding member of the Washington-Idaho Pea and Lentil Commission. LeRoy and Phyllis managed the sale of the first Foundation Gaines wheat, the first of the many high-production wheats developed by WSU. Leroy and Phyllis built LeRoy's Restaurant in Basin City. After going through a few operators, they finally took over operations of the restaurant and operated it until they sold it and retired to Lincoln City, OR. Phyllis and LeRoy traveled world-wide until LeRoy passed away in 1990. Phyllis stayed on in Lincoln City until 2009 and traveled to China, the Amazon, and Kenya. She was very active at the senior center. She played piano from age 10 and played for the center as well as the Grange. They were both Grange members and Phyllis was a member of the Pythian Sisters for over 50 years. Phyllis eventually relocated to Victoria's Family Home in Vancouver, WA after breaking her femur. Phyllis was the most out-going person with a great personality who loved the piano, telling jokes, and being the best Mom possible. Phyllis passed away on June 12, 2016 at age 95 from old age. She is preceded in death by her parents; husband LeRoy, and oldest son Rhett. She is survived by her remaining children and their spouses, her nine grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Phyllis' ashes will be interred beside LeRoy's burial plot at Pacific View Cemetery in Lincoln City, OR. No services are planned.
Published in Tri-City Herald on July 3, 2016