Phyllis Jean (Lieurance) Gates was born in Newton, Kansas, on 23 February 1921. Her parents were William H and Ruby (Berry) Lieurance. They lived in Topeka, but Phyllis spent many happy times in Newton, as she grew up. She went to Boswell Junior High and Topeka High School, and then Washburn University. After a year of college she married Joseph A Babicki. They had 3 children. They divorced in 1961.
Phyllis went back to Washburn and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1957. She was active in Washburn Players and later in the Topeka Civic Theater, winning an award from each.
Phyllis taught 3rd and 4th grades at Central Park School in Topeka. She next taught individual students at Menninger’s Southard School for 2 years. Phyllis taught for another year at Leavenworth County, plus some substitute and adult education work in Junction City.
In 1963, Phyl married Edward Francis Gates and joined the Catholic Church. They moved to Leavenworth, where their son William Edward Gates was born. Next stop was Junction City, where they lived happily for decades.
Phyllis is survived by son Bill (Kris) and daughter Charlotte Babicki, as well as Jackson Gates, Cade Patton, and 6 Struby grandchildren: Justin (Stephanie), Adam (Sarah), Jessica (Zac Smith), Ben (Annie), Rachel (Scott Gayley), and Ethan (Julia Stewart); and also nine great-grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by her husband Ed, her son Joe Babicki, and her daughter Marsha Struby.
Phyllis was active in the Catholic Church and Circle 4. She loved reading and taking part in library events. She kept her friends for a lifetime. She was always interested in talking to other people and learning about their lives. Both Phyllis and Ed were fond of travelling around the US in their camper and showing its wonders to their son and grandchildren.
Phyl died at Junction City, Kansas, on 10 January 2022. She was bright, funny, kind, and caring. We will miss her. Cremation will take place. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 20, 2022 at St. Xavier Catholic Church. The cremated remains will be buried following the services at St. Mary's Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at Johnson Funeral Home with the rosary prayed at 6:30 p.m.
Memorial contributions are suggested to be given to the Friends of the JC Public Library.
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