Phyllis A. Fredericksen passed away on March 4th at her home in Friday Harbor after a short illness. It was a peaceful end to a storied life, full of adventures.
Born in Portis, Kansas to Paul and Helen (Kaup) Lerew, on Oct. 22, 1925, she was the eldest of three children. At the age of 10 her family moved to San Francisco where she grew into a lovely young woman. A talented pianist and artist, Phyllis lent her musical talent to high school productions and after graduating found her first adult job retouching photographs in a portrait studio, enjoying the challenge of the meticulous work.
After the war she met the love her life, Jack Fredericksen – a handsome Navy man who’d survived the bombing of his ship, the USS New Orleans in Pearl Harbor and action in the Pacific. They married in 1953 on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The year 1966 began a new chapter for all of them, moving to the island of Kodiak, Alaska – their first taste of island living. A rugged life in a beautiful setting, which they loved.
In Kodiak she spent years working for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, earning special commendations including an award from the Department of the Interior, bestowed at a ceremony in Washington D.C. Later Phyllis and Jack acquired North Star Lumber in Kodiak, running a successful business for years until selling it to retire. They then moved to Coos Bay, Oregon for a few years, but after visiting friends in Friday Harbor they knew it was where they would build their dream home. They began construction in 1985, making sure to provide plenty of room to host visitors.
After Jack’s passing in 1994, Phyllis stayed on in the home where she loved welcoming her family and friends, old and new. A champion correspondent, everyone who wrote received a newsy reply in her beautiful Palmer handwriting. She was a voracious reader, puzzle solver, and could bang out a swinging tune on her piano until her last days. An energetic gardener, she made sure the bird feeder didn’t run out, and watched bemusedly as generations of deer sheltered and snacked in her yard. She treasured the company of all her beloved dogs. Phyllis loved traveling with family – whether crossing the U.S., trekking to Switzerland to visit the village where her grandmother was born, or going on cruises with family and friends.
Before the pandemic, Phyllis always looked forward to Sunday service at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church, worshipping and helping out as needed. Likewise, her days at the Mullis Senior Center were a joy and highlight of her week. Many dear friends were made in the midst of the good meals, bingo, and fast and fierce games of Mexican Train!
Phyllis’ sense of humor was sly, wry and matter of fact. Her smile was wide and beautiful. Husband, Jack Fredericksen and granddaughter, Kerrie Yeasting, predeceased her. She leaves behind daughter Suzanne Carney of Anacortes; grandchildren Annissa and Quint Manolovitz of Auburn, WA and Joi Lee of Overland Park, KS; ten great-grandchildren, seven great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Special thanks to the caregivers who gave her comfort in her last chapter: Kathy Cox, Valeria Wagner, neighbor Ronnie Metcalfe, and Hospice of the NW.
To share memories of Phyllis with the family, please visit her online obituary at www.evanschapel.com/obituary/phyllis-fredericksen.