Later in life, as a hobby, Phyllis Kay Begens enjoyed reading other people’s obituaries. The funnier, the better, she always said. Well, Phyllis read her last obituary on Feb. 24, 2019. She was 90.

Let me tell you about Phyllis.

In 1943, she worked outside in the scorching heat detasseling corn in Geneseo, when she was 15. Then in 1946, she got an indoor job teaching kids in a one-room schoolhouse.

Her real job however was raising a family, which was her true calling. Phyllis and her late husband, John (married for 59 years), had six kids: Kerry, Ami, “Walt,” Brad, “Chops” and Pam. One of the brood was a handful (although that child was probably also her favorite). There were also grandchildren: Markus, B.J., Richard Carl, Ashley, Matt, Whitney, Brad, Eric and Tommy; and even great grandchildren: AJ, Sadie, Charlotte and Mason. She never forgot a birthday.

She famously claimed she once fought an angry black bear while camping in the Adirondacks Mountains and broke four ribs in the melee (in reality she tripped over a tree root while trying to glimpse a lazy bear eating scraps from a garbage can).

No matter where she lived, Phyllis made long-lasting friends: names like Trantina, Rey, Minkiewicz, Dalby and Duffy in her West Hill neighborhood; one of the “Golden Girls” in Pine Lakes and even new friends in Discovery Village.

She had a talent for clever poetry. Not that fancy Haiku stuff but the ones that rhyme.  She also played the piano, sometimes doing an impromptu duet with Cousin Gerry (or Liberace as his Hollywood friends call him).

Phyllis would never refuse a Prosecco. Two was her limit (after all, she was from the Midwest). She was also a connoisseur of Cheetos. Not the large puffy kind but only the skinny crunchy kind would do.

She kept her mind sharp by doing crosswords puzzles in ballpoint pen (at least on Mondays). She was a rebel.

Phyllis left a legacy for subsequent residents at Discovery Village. Hint: Abracadabra and think of the Three of Hearts.

Simply put, Phyllis was the best. If you knew her, you already know that.

Join the family to bid farewell to Phyllis when she is interred at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, FL on March 11, 2019, starting at 1 p.m. sharp.