Phyllis Thompson Embley
May 10, 1939 ~ August 6, 2020
"I wonder if it wouldn't have been a better idea for spouses to pass away together?" Those were the sentiments of Phyllis's husband, Michael, the morning after she died. We all feel a huge loss already, and her eternal companion (of 62 years) most of all.
Phyllis Thompson Embley passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, August 6, surrounded by her four children and their spouses -- Lourie (Brian), Craig (Kimberly), Charles (Ruth), and Steven (Heidi). Phyllis suffered in recent months with COPD.
Phyllis was born May 10, 1939 in Payson, Utah (at the hospital closest to her hometown of Ephraim, Utah). She is the daughter of Amber Jewel King and Thomas Kimball Thompson. Phyllis's father died when she was an infant, and she was raised with tenderness and immense love by her stepfather Lendal Grant Larsen.
Phyllis was a master educator and a lifelong learner. After graduating from Manti High School, she attended Snow College, the University of Utah, Southern Utah University, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University. She received a number of degrees from those institutions, including two doctorate degrees. Phyllis taught elementary school (kindergarten and fifth grade) and later was a professor at the University of Utah, Utah State and BYU. For many years she was an administrator for Jordan School District. She also served on the Governor's commission on education, including as the commission's president.
Phyllis's family, including her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her greatest joy. Phyllis and Mike have sixteen grandchildren (Michael, Ryan, Jessica, Robert, Marianne, Thomas, Sarah, Brittany, Jacob, Laura Lee, Brooke, Katie, Alicia, Rachel, Bradley and Alison) and eighteen great-grandchildren (Camden, Everett, Turner, Amos, Brielle, Emerson, Daphne, Dezmon, Thea, Grady, Savannah, Shawnie, Vivienne, Ellie, Cormick, Brooklyn, Claire and Lily with three more on the way). Beyond that, there were countless others (sons, daughters and grandchildren) whom Phyllis loved and called her own.
Siblings and in-laws were a joyous part of Phyllis's life. They are Tom, Margie (Rod), Merrill (Nedra), Grant (Linda), Kent (Camille) and Ron (Sherrie). John (Pat), Kathy (Terry) and Reed (Doris).
In their fifties, Phyllis and Mike began to train for marathons and ran a number of them together. They also spent a great deal of time simply walking, and they walked the world and their own neighborhood with the shared desire to find people they could help and cheer. Phyllis and Mike spent over a decade serving six full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including 2 amazing years in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Recently, Phyllis was asked whether she felt anything had been left undone? After only a moment of reflection, she responded that she had seen all the places she'd ever wanted to see and accomplished all that she had ever set out to do.
In addition to the care her sweet husband gave, one of Phyllis's greatest blessings was the compassionate care of her son Steve, who was her doctor.
A graveside service will be held at Elysian Gardens Cemetery at 1075 E. 4580 S. Salt Lake City, on Wednesday, August 12, at 9:00 am. A viewing will be held at the beginning and the ending of that service. Everyone is welcome to this outdoor service. We ask that all who attend please wear a mask. Because seating is limited, we encourage you to bring lawn chairs or other seating. Flowers may be sent to Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary at 1007 West South Jordan Parkway, in South Jordan, Utah. Or if you wish, you may donate in her memory to the LDS Church's missionary fund or to an educational charity of your choice
. To read thoughts, offer condolences. share memories and view the live stream, visit www.jenkins-soffe.com
"Phyllis, nofa a; 'ofa atu."
Published by Deseret News from Aug. 9 to Aug. 10, 2020.