May 28, 1932 - November 14, 2018
Beloit, WI -- Phyllis Belle Harris, 86, of Beloit, WI, passed away at home with her family on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, following a brief battle with cancer. She was born May 28, 1932, in Beloit, WI, the daughter of Arthur H. and Florence (Egery) Gunderson. Phyllis was born and raised on her family farm, the oldest original family homestead in Rock County. She graduated in the top 5 of her class from Beloit Memorial High School, Class of 1950, and was chosen as a sponsor for ROTC. She received a teaching certificate from Green County Normal in Monroe, Wisconsin. Phyllis married Thomas "Tom" Harris on November 29, 1952. He predeceased her on February 25, 2014. Everyone who met Phyllis was touched by her warm, kind smile and sweet, gentle manner. Phyllis taught at Kemmerer School, a one-room schoolhouse from 1952 until 1955. She loved teaching and believed in lifelong learning. Once married, she and her husband Tom owned Harris Masonry & Construction for over 50 years, and she was the bookkeeper for the business. They raised five children together and Phyllis was a devoted, loving mother and grandmother. Family gatherings at the holidays and "Work Day" were among some of her favorite memories. She loved to sew, craft, play card games, read and was a talented artist. Her favorite medium was china painting and she shared many of her pieces with friends as gifts. A lifelong resident of Beloit, Phyllis actively participated in her community as a volunteer for many organizations, served in leadership capacities on educational, philanthropic and non-profit boards and organizations, too many to mention. She loved the arts, music, attending musicals and plays. Phyllis was an active member and volunteer of St. Thomas Catholic Church as well. Phyllis was a caring, compassionate, thoughtful, kind-hearted and gracious wife, mother, and grandmother who had a strong faith and will be missed by all. She recently shared the following advice with her daughter:
"Do something you enjoy each day!
Be kind and gentle
Call someone (who may be lonely)
Be encouraging to those you meet,
You may not know what burdens they carry."
Survivors include her children: Jeff (Becky) Harris of Beloit, Jill (Tom) Kuehn of Stoughton, Janet (April Lewallen) Harris of Falls Church, VA, Jay (Tricia) Harris of East Troy, and Jackie Harris of Stoughton; Grandchildren: Nicole (Andy) Cooper (Stoughton), Karley (Taylor Voeltz) Harris (Stoughton), and Emma (Erik Kellom) Harris (Milwaukee), Todd (Jen) Goodwin (Wauwatosa), Tom Goodwin (Madison); brother, Berwyn Gunderson; sisters-in-law, Bernice Gunderson and Evie Gunderson; many nieces and nephews in the Stateline area.
She was predeceased by her parents; grandson, Thomas R. "Tommy" Kuehn; brothers: Russell, Buell, and Fred; and a sister, Elgeva "Sis" Clowes; and brother-in-law, Laurel Clowes; and sisters-in-law, Mary Adair, and Barbara Gunderson.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m., Saturday, December 1, 2018 at St. Thomas The Apostle Parish, 824 East Grand Ave. Beloit, WI. Internment will be held at a later date. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until the time of service Saturday in the church. Daley Murphy Wisch & Associates Funeral Home and Crematorium, 2355 Cranston Road, Beloit, WI 53511 assisted the family with the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Tommy Kuehn Memorial Fund, 143 East Prospect Street, Stoughton, WI 53589, www.tommyschallenge.com a fund established in honor of her grandson to perform acts of kindness and support endeavors of those who follow the education and paths in the medical field that Tommy pursued during his lifetime. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.daleymurphywisch.com.
The family would like to thank her caregivers who she thought of as her "angels," and also, to Agrace Hospice and SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital, Madison, WI.