Phyllis Reece

PEKIN — Phyllis Ann Reece passed away at Richard L Owens Hospice Home on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 at 9:25 p.m. surrounded by her loving family.  

Phyllis was born in Bloomington on Jan. 29, 1933 to Louise (Hall) and George W. Harris.  She married Franklin T. Reece in Kewanee on Nov. 8, 1952.  

Phyllis was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt. She attended nursing school and became a RN working at Kewanee Public Hospital.

The family moved from Kewanee and Phyllis became the bookkeeper at Bartlett Company in LaRose and Washburn, Illinois. She also co-owned and operated Patrice’s Dress Shop in Washburn.

Later she became the Director of Religious Education at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Toluca and then at Holy Family Church in Peoria for 18 years.

She loved to work crossword puzzles and watch old movies.  Christmas was her favorite time of year and she celebrated it all year with her hundreds of Santa Claus statues displayed around their home. 

In 1959 Phyllis along with her husband and six others co-founded the Organization for Retarded Citizens later known as Pilot House and now known as Abilities Plus in Kewanee.  The first class was made up of seven students followed by many years of continued growth serving the areas disabled students.  The original founders of this group were recognized and honored at the 50th anniversary of Abilities Plus in 2009.  She was very proud of her part in forming this wonderful school for special needs students.

She is survived by her husband of 65 years; daughters, Patricia (Kevin) Zilm of Rochelle, and Karen (Rick) Miesner of Manito; sons, Michael (Suzanne) of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Bill (Debbie) Crank of Morton, Paul (Bonni) of Pekin, Philip (Debbie) of Monona, Wisconsin, Jeff of Norfolk, Virginia, and Donald (Elaine) of Oregon; 15 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.  Also surviving are sisters-in-law, Margaret Faber of Kewanee, and Shirley Harris of Coarsegold, California; and many nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by her parents; brothers, George A. Harris and infant Joseph Michael; sisters, Patty Lou and infant Mary Lee.  She is also predeceased by brothers-in-law, Donald and Fred Reece, Fritz Faber and Don Pettersson, and sisters-in-law, Mildred Reece, Dorothy Pettersson and Doris Reece.

Special thanks to OSF fourth floor surgical doctors and staff and the doctors and staff at the Richard L. Owens Hospice Home.

Her Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 12 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 3720 N. Sterling Ave. in Peoria with Father Paul Greenough as Celebrant. A visitation will be held Thursday, the night prior from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Henderson Funeral Home, 2131 Velde Dr., Pekin. Entombment will be at Resurrection Mausoleum.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Abilities Plus in Kewanee, The Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria or the Alzheimer’s Association.

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