A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 2 pm at Russell Memorial United Methodist Church, Wills Point, Texas with a reception to follow. Joy and purple will be the themes of the day as we celebrate Phyllis’ life and legacy. Services are under the direction of Hiett's LyBrand Funeral Home.
Phyllis Jean Sohn Mayo
1922 – 2021
Phyllis, Phyl, Mom, Mimama, Momma Mayo. Whatever she was called, Phyllis made everyone feel that they were her friend and important to her; because to her, you were her friend and important. She made a significant impact on people from all walks of life: in her church, community and in all of the organizations in which she participated. But to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family and beloved friends, she was beyond special. She approached life with a vibrancy, curiosity and energy that was unlimited.
Phyllis was a lifelong learner. Graduating third in her class from Cuyahoga Falls High School, Ohio in 1939, her desire was to become a chemist, but was not allowed to pursue that major because she was female. After two years at Kent State University, WWII interrupted her college pursuits. Interestingly, during the war she had the opportunity to work in a chemistry lab with Firestone helping design rubber rafts used in the military. In 1945 she completed her college education at Ohio State University with a degree in dietetics. Phyllis worked as a dietitian at Ohio Wesleyan, Colorado Women’s College and later Indiana University. It was there that she met a doctoral student, Truett Mayo, and they married June 16, 1951. They moved to his hometown, Van, Texas, where they started their life together. Phyllis was a full time homemaker, part-time office support at the family Insurance agency and became very involved in church and social organizations as she raised her 3 children. Supporting her children in their various activities: Cub Scouts on to Eagle Scouts, piano lessons, VBS, band, athletics, and homework at every grade level through master’s theses….. whatever their interest or need, she was there to support them in that activity. The family moved to Wills Point, Texas in 1968 and Phyllis continued her devoted support of her family. She quickly became involved there and was named Wills Point Woman of the Year in 1982. She enjoyed serving in her church, Episcopal as a child and then Methodist throughout her adult life. Phyllis taught Sunday School, played handbells, helped create needlepoint kneeling cushions, crocheted prayer shawls, made Crismon ornaments, was part of the altar guild, and participated in various women’s groups and Bible studies.
Phyllis was passionate about her family genealogy, and helped trace her Prior family roots back to the 1600’s. She was a collector and caretaker of family history and artifacts, many over 200 years old. One of these, a rope bed, was donated to help furnish the Wills Cabin with period pieces. Her curiosity about her family and the world led her to travel to many countries and most of the United States, always eager to share a new adventure with friends and frequently acquiring new ones along the way. She loved to bring home rocks, sea shells and other bits of nature from her travels. One of her favorite places to relax was by water, whether it was the ocean or a quiet lake. From ice skating in her childhood to water skiing and sailing as an adult, Phyllis took pleasure in many water activities.
Being extremely creative, Phyllis was always exploring new avenues to express that creativity. A prolific and accomplished seamstress, there was nothing that she wouldn’t attempt to sew. She kept herself, Markie and then granddaughters dressed beautifully in the latest fashion. Phyllis also enjoyed knitting, crochet, needlepoint, crewel work, stained glass, macramé, painting, ceramics….. there wasn’t much she didn’t try, master and often share generously with family and friends. Her creative talents also were demonstrated in the kitchen as Phyllis was an excellent cook, especially in the dessert department. She delighted in visits with friends and family at dinner or when they just stopped by for coffee or dessert. Ice cream was an all-time favorite and she made it known that she’d “have as much as you’re having!”
Growing up during the depression, she learned the value of saving and utilizing everything as much as possible. She could take a little scrap of something and turn it into a masterpiece. Her green thumb created a beautiful garden of flowers and other plants found both inside and outside her home. Phyllis had a way of personalizing almost everything she touched, caring little for an item’s brand or status as she felt that handmade items made with love were the best.
Pets were always around the Mayo household, with cats being Phyllis’ favorite. But you’d often find dogs, as well as her tolerating the more unusual pets the boys brought home or were gifted such as pigeons, flying squirrels, owl, honey bear, rabbits, pheasants, quail, crows, raccoons, snakes, and even a skunk – only after being de-scented of course!
The value of hard work, diligence and persistence was instilled in her children and others. She encouraged her family to strive for excellence and most importantly, to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others well. Moderation was key in most things, except when it came to the limitless sacrificial love and attention she poured into her children and friends (and dessert!). Phyllis was joyful and fun loving, generous with her time and talents, an encourager and an impactful influencer. Everyone was welcomed with a huge smile and hug, whether she met them on one of her neighborhood walks, in a store or in her home. She was never too busy to stop and enjoy their company. Friends and family who knew her well, loved her every moment she lived and will love her dearly forever.
Phyllis was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on February 20, 1922 to Harry V. and Margaret H. Sohn. She passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus on April 14, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. She is survived by her daughter Markie Lawrence (Jerry), son Swain Mayo (Bonnie) and son Matt Mayo: grandchildren Natalie Leslie (Kurt), Abby Davila (Pablo), Kelsy Liles (David) and Collin Mayo (Hilary); great grandchildren Avery Leslie, Hannah Leslie, Savannah Davila, Owen Liles, Leora Liles, Dylan Mayo, Macie Mayo and Nathan Mayo; and many nieces and nephews. Phyllis was predeceased by her parents Harry V. and Margaret H. Sohn, Truett Mayo, sister Louise Sohn Morris and brother David E. Sohn.
If desired, memorial donations may be made to Russell Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 S 4th St, Wills Point, TX 75169.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Phyllis Jean Sohn Mayo, please visit our floral store.