We celebrate the life of, and love for Phyllis Therese Odermann who passed away at St. Luke’s Nursing Home on November 8, 2020. Funeral mass will be Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 10:00 am at Queen of Peace Catholic Church with Msgr. Richter celebrating. Visitation will be Wednesday, December 16 at 4:30 pm with rosary and vigil at 6:00 pm.
On January 21, 1932, in Elbowoods, ND, Phyllis was born the fifth of eight children to Henry and Regina (Landwehr) Odermann. Phyllis shared many stories of the delight, hard work, determination, sacrifice and community responsibility of growing up on a farm in rural North Dakota, and those experiences shared the future years of Phyllis’ life.
At the age of 18, Phyllis became a novice (or enrolled in the novitiate) at the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross in Merrill, WI. She went on to take final vows as Sr. Marie Therese and receive her elementary education degree. Phyllis taught and mentored her beloved students during her years as a nun in Cincinnati, OH, and Milwaukee, WI. After leaving the Benedictines, Phyllis taught in Montana for seven years, finishing her teaching career in North Dakota with 15 years in South Heart, and seven years in Dickinson. Her students knew at a young age how much she cared for and treasured each child. Phyllis proudly dedicated 47 years to her passion of educating and encouraging children. Her delight, hard work, determination, sacrifice and community contributions as a teacher provided many young minds and hearts with tools to guide and lead them throughout their lives. Following her retirement from teaching, she moved to Helena, MT, to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Cele and Al Volesky. After a number of years, Phyllis returned to North Dakota to live with her sister, Teresa Weinand, before moving into Park Avenue Villa and then making her final home at St. Luke’s Home.
Phyllis has left behind multitudes of memorable gifts with her loving touch for family and friends via her deep love and enjoyment for sewing clothing and creating stuffed animals, making cards, braided rugs, patchwork quilts and pillows, and her ability to literally spend pennies on the dollar for her materials. Phyllis had a dry sense of humor, and although she could come across as funny sometimes, those who knew her well were occasionally treated to a glimpse of the imp and sly fox she hid well on those occasions when she may have ‘tipped’ one too many. She loved to play games and put puzzles together, and be surrounded by family. Her devotion to equality and social justice, especially for people of color, were tantamount in her adult years, and she generously contributed to causes that assisted those who were marginalized. Phyllis’ faith and her positive outlook on life carried her through many obstacles, and almost always became a lesson she shared with those she loved.
Phyllis is survived by her sisters, Joan Odermann in Dickinson, sister and brother-in-law, Cele and Al Volesky, in Helena, MT; numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews who live in the states and around the globe.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Regina Odermann: sisters and brothers-in-law, Doris and Willie Stevenson, and Teresa and Tommy Weinand; brothers, Father John Odermann and Lloyd Odermann, and brother and sister-in-law, Harold and Helen Odermann.
Phyllis’ family would like to extend their significant appreciation to all of those who have cared so diligently and lovingly for her during her years at Park Avenue Villa and St. Luke’s Home, and to all of her friends and teaching colleagues who have touched her life through kindness, caring and support. Undoubtedly, we will all be grateful for the memories of Phyllis, and the generous heart and spirit she embodied.