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Phyllis Monke

Our family lost a wonderful mother, grandmother, aunt and sister.  Phyllis Alberta Lorraine Monke died December 28, 2019.  She created warmth, comfort and love throughout her life.  We loved her dearly and she will be greatly missed.

Phyllis was born September 25, 1921 in Wessington Springs, South Dakota, the daughter of Albert and Nettie Ray Kurtz. She was the youngest of five children.

She moved with her family to the Kingsley, Iowa area in 1927, attended country school northwest of Kingsley and graduated from Kingsley High School in 1939.

On January 1, 1945, Phyllis and Melvin Monke were united in marriage at Kinglsey, Iowa.  What followed was 63 years of work, love, children (Judy and Lowell), church, family get-togethers and delicious casseroles, pies and cakes.

They lived on a farm near Pierson, Iowa for 32 years.  Later, Phyllis was manager of Graham’s Variety Store in Kingsley for several years.  They retired and moved to Kingsley in 1981.  Melvin died in 2008. Phyllis was a lifelong member of the Church of the Brethren.  She cherished her family and found great pleasure in family gatherings.

Phyllis enjoyed music, playing pitch and canasta, gardening, crocheting and crossword puzzles.  She will be remembered as an excellent homemaker, cook and baker.  She was thoughtful, kind and always interested in the latest news of family and friends.

Survivors include her daughter, Judy (Les) Watts of Des Moines, IA; her son, Lowell (Candy) Monke of Colorado; grandchildren Benjamin and Mitchell Monke, JoEllen Watts, Jackie Watts, Bill Schaefer, and Bradley (Mary) Watts; great-grandchildren Maria (Nick), Michael (Emma), Katherine (Clint), Madeleine and Amelia; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Melvin; brothers Laverne and Emery (Muriel) Kurtz; sisters Estelle (Francis) Hendricks and Gladys (Harold) Graham; a sister-in-law, Mildred Kurtz; and several nephews.

Phyllis met the challenges of aging and loss in later life with courage, grace and a positive attitude.  She remained in good health into her nineties.  Then as her body slowed, she still showed the need to give and be of use to others.

Residents at Bickford Cottages Assisted Living would come to her for her kindness and help, a hug, kiss on the cheek or reassuring word.  She will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know her.

Memorials may be directed to Heifer International at  Condolences may be expressed at

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