On Aug. 24, 2020, surrounded by family and loved ones, Phyllis Gay Stephenson left us for her next adventure.
She was born Oct. 14, 1917 to Frank Herbert Gay and Eva May Stratford in Detroit, Michigan. The family moved west to Santa Monica in 1924, and in 1942 she married William Hughes Stephenson, then a medical student at the University of Southern California.
With a low draft number and World War II ramping up, Bill enlisted in the Army, which eventually took him to the East Coast and then overseas. Phyllis followed and lived in Groton, Massachusetts, for the remainder of the war, awaiting his homecoming.
In 1945 they returned to Los Angeles where Bill resumed his medical training. Their four children, Gaye, William Anderson (Andy), Lynne and James Kirk were born during this time, and the family moved to Santa Barbara in 1953 when Bill joined the Sansum Clinic.
Phyllis and Bill divorced in 1966 and she filled her time with work and travel. In 1997, just short of her 80th birthday, she sold her Santa Barbara home of 44 years and moved to Tahoe City to start the next phase of her life.
She wanted to experience mountain living and the seasons, and although she had planned to stay only a few years before returning to Santa Barbara, she instead spent the remaining 23 years of her life there, soaking up nature in all of its glory and enjoying every minute of it.
She wished to bid a fond farewell to her four very individual children: “It was my greatest pleasure having you all and being your Mother.”
Her spirit lives on in the joy she brought to all who knew her. A small family gathering will be held in Tahoe in the spring … when the flowers are blooming.