February 4, 1933 ~ August 19, 2019
Phyllis was born February 4, 1933, in North Ogden, Utah, to Horace Russell and Elta Iona Blodgett Russell. During the depression, her dad worked on the windy plains of Wyoming laying a pipeline where Phyllis and her brother Roy and mother lived in a tent from 1934-1937. She often said, "We had more sand in our pancakes than syrup." She attended grade school in North Ogden and Weber High School in Ogden. She loved school and was quite popular. There are 14 pictures of Phyllis in her 1951 high school yearbook, more than any other girl in school, mostly because she was involved in so many things.
She loved to sing and dance from her earliest years and performed in several pageants including All Faces West in 1951. She was a very beautiful girl with a loving personality and was in four different beauty contests including the Miss Ogden pageant where she was one of the finalists in 1952.
After high school, she went on to attend night school at Weber College where she met a handsome airman named Cletus Hoer from Hill Air Force Base who was also attending night school. They were engaged shortly before he was transferred in January 1952 to Texas and then to Japan during the Korean War. They wrote letters to each other for two and a half years during which time she worked at Hill Air Force Base in Personnel. During this time she also taught dancing for Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Salt Lake and Ogden. Phyllis and Cletus were married September 29, 1954, in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden just one month after he was discharged.
After their marriage, they made their home in Denver for one year where she worked for the Air Force Finance Center. While in Denver their first child Michael was born. Then in September 1955, they moved to nearby Boulder for Cletus to attend the University of Colorado. Phyllis worked in Boulder at the National Bureau of Standards until Cletus graduated in 1959, taking time off to have two more children, Marilyn and Steven. While in Boulder Cletus joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized on their 2nd wedding anniversary. They and their three older children were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple April 1, 1958.
They were flat broke after Cletus graduated and all they could afford was an old farmhouse east of Boulder. There their fourth child Stanley was born. Then in 1961, they bought a nice new home in South Boulder where three more children were born, David, Diane, and Rodney. They continued to live in Boulder for over 50 years. Their children all went to schools in Boulder where Phyllis was always active in helping out with school activities. The children all went away to college and settled outside of Colorado.
Phyllis was very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all her life, holding many different positions including a successful stake mission. When Cletus retired in 1989 the two of them went on four senior missions for the church which they really enjoyed. Their first senior mission was in the Arizona Temple Visitors Center in Mesa, Arizona. They then served three more missions in the Family History Mission in Salt Lake City. Two of those missions were in the Mission Training Lab where they helped train 20 to 40 other senior missionaries who came into the mission each month. Their example as missionaries has greatly influenced their descendants who, along with spouses, have spent over 100 man-years in missionary service.
In 2006 they moved to Grass Valley, California to be near the family of their son Stan. Then in 2013 when her health began to fail they moved to The Seville senior living community in Orem and finally in 2018 to Spring Gardens in Lindon where Phyllis passed away on August 19, 2019. She is buried in Ben Lomond Cemetery in North Ogden, Utah.
Phyllis' family numbers 130 souls with 37 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren. She is survived by her husband Cletus of 65 years, seven children; Michael (Laurie), Marilyn (Mark) Keys, Steven (Cynthia), Stanley (Carolyn), David (Pam), Diane (Mark) Olson, Rodney (Chantre') and a brother Roy (Pat) Russell.