Phyllis Jean Serfling got to go home to live with Jesus on November 13, 2019. Phyllis was born February 3, 1938 in Los Angeles, CA. to Guy & Edna Shields. They left LA when Phyllis was 2 and she grew up in Oregon. She met the love of her life, Jim, when she was a college freshman, and they were married on August 24, 1957. She continued pursuing her degree in education as Krista was born, and then Jim Jr.
Phyllis graduated with a teaching degree from University of Oregon 5 days after Jim was born. He was followed 2 years later by Mark. Phyllis substitute taught in Springfield, Oregon until 1964, when she & Jim packed up their 3 children & went to Brasilia, where she taught first and second grade. After 2 years there, they decided to teach in Alaska “for two years to cool off”. Phyllis second grade, then kindergarten, and 2 years turned into 21 as she reveled and excelled in teaching first graders to read.
Summers were spent camping with the family in Alaska, or loading everyone up in the camper and hitting the road to “the lower 48”. Phyllis was always very active in the church, especially children’s ministry and music. She would often teach Sunday School & then accompany hymns on the piano or organ. She also loved to sing and was thrilled to sing at the Anchorage Billy Graham Crusade with George Beverly Shea. She was also very involved with the Gideons, helping to place Bibles in hotels & giving New Testaments to people. Phyllis retired from the Anchorage School District at age 49. Then life got really busy with mission trips to the Yukon River, the Amazon Jungle, Maui and Mexico and just plain old traveling, going to 31 countries altogether. Phyllis also started teaching adults to read as an ESL tutor with the Alaska Literacy Program. She and Jim moved to Payson in 1998 where they joined the Payson Packers on hikes, and Phyllis continued as an ESL tutor, and became involved in Mountain Bible Church, and of course their children’s ministry.
Phyllis was a devoted and faithful wife and loving Mother, Mother in Law, Grammy and Great Grammy, Sister, Aunt and Friend. Phyllis will join in heaven her parents, Guy & Edna Shields and her brother, Ray Shields. She is survived and missed by her husband Jim; brother Merlin Shields; daughter Krista Shelby and husband Tom; son Jim Serfling & wife Jenny; son Mark Serfling; grandson’s Shaphan Serfling and Theodore Serfling; grandson Justin Shelby & wife Chelsea & children, Annalyse, Salvatore, Siersha and Desmond; grandson Toben Shelby & wife Vanessa.
While Phyllis loved flowers she was very practical & would have appreciated donations to some of her favorite organizations; Gideon’s International; Wycliffe Bible Translators; Hisportic Christian Mission; Rim Country Literacy Program.
A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday 11/24 at 2pm at Mountain Bible Church in the activity center.
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