Nov. 28, 1938-Nov. 23, 2015
Longtime Homer resident Phyllis Jean Kohlbeck, 76, died Nov. 23, 2015, in Anchorage at Providence Alaska Medical Center. She was bedridden for a number of years following a medical procedure. Since that time, she had been lovingly taken care of by many caregivers in Homer.
Phyllis was born Nov. 28, 1938, in Omaha, Neb., to Earl Sr. and Alvena Buckner. She grew up and attended school in Omaha, graduating from Omaha Technical High School. In 1959, while working as a telephone operator, she met and married the love of her life, R.M. Kevin Kohlbeck, shortly after he left the U.S. Air Force. They spent a couple of years in Nebraska before moving to Appleton, Wis., where Phyllis and Kevin started their family, raising four children, Daniel, Katherine, Robert, and Carolann.
When the opportunity arose in 1978, Kevin and Phyllis left Wisconsin and moved their family to Homer. Educated and trained as a ward clerk, Phyllis started working at South Peninsula Hospital. The ward clerk was a newly created position and Phyllis took great pride in being the one to lay the foundation for its future at the hospital. Her efficiency continues to be highly spoken of by physicians still on staff. By the time she left the hospital in 1987, she had finished raising her four children and was enjoying the arrival of several grandchildren.
Phyllis adored Homer and the people who live there. She was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church and the Homer Emblem Club #350, holding multiple offices, including President. From 2002-2003, Phyllis was elected President of the Alaska State Association of Emblem Clubs, and effectively used her time raising money for lupus research, literacy projects and educational scholarships. She thrived on her travels around the state and to the lower 48 while she was a member of the Emblem Club. She truly appreciated meeting the many wonderful, patriotic women of Emblem, who support and graciously give back to their communities. Phyllis was a woman who dearly loved her family, enjoyed entertaining, and spending time with others. She was an incredibly generous woman who always gave of her heart.
Phyllis is preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, her beloved husband Kevin, her son Robert “Odie” and her granddaughter Brittany.
She is survived by her son, Daniel and his wife Tracy of Bremerton, Wash.; daughters, Katherine Mitchell and her husband David; Carolann Weir and her husband John, both of Anchorage; brothers, Floyd, and his wife Holly of Appleton, Wis., and Earl and his wife Beverly, of Omaha, Neb.; 17 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
There will be a Funeral Mass for Phyllis, followed by an Emblem Club ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, presided over by Father Bob Leising. A celebration of her life will follow at the General Buckner Post 16 American Legion.
Her family wrote, “Phyllis loved and was loved by many. Our family has truly been blessed to have had this loving and caring mother in our lives. We would like to thank the many wonderful members of the community of Homer who stepped in and provided us support, assistance and love during this difficult time in our lives. Thank you.”