Phyllis L. Riordan, not wanting to contribute to looming social security crises, promptly passed away on January 5, 2018.
Phyllis was born July 16, 1947 to Wilbert & Sylvia Laubmeier in Plain, Wisconsin. According to Phyllis, the name was very apt. Growing up on a farm, she longed for a taste of the big city. With that in mind, she moved to the largest and most glamorous city she could dream of… Madison, Wisconsin.
In 1965, she began pursuing her dreams of becoming a registered nurse. This farm girl from Plain Wisconsin couldn’t resist the allure of those crisp and white uniforms or being surrounded by doctors. Oh, and there was the helping the sick too. While in school, Phyllis met her future ex-husband, Ray Riordan. After 30 years of marriage, they decided it would be easier to change addresses than each other. During those years she had three children: RJ, Maria, and Phyl. Phyllis viewed us children as the greatest blessings God ever gave her. Mainly because the fighting, gray hairs, etc. were offered up in penance and she knew she was earning a straight shot into Heaven. I heard she maybe, kind of liked us too.
Phyllis decided to get a masters degree and enrolled at Edgewood College to earn her MBA. One day she received a sign from God that she was not to get her MBA but rather her Masters of Religious Studies. What was this clear and present sign Our Lord gave Phyllis? Statistics! It was a required course for the MBA but not for Religious Studies. Armed with her Masters of Religious Studies, she quickly learned the employment opportunities were a bit smaller than with an MBA. However, she finagled her way into a position at Christ the King Parish as the Director of Religious Education. In this role she learned many things, the two most important were: 1. the prominence of faith in her life continued to grow daily; 2. if you want volunteers to show up, do NOT schedule them during Packer games…ever.
As her children grew, her role in their lives never diminished. When Phyl gave birth to the first grandchild, Phyllis moved to North Carolina to help for the first two years. Then when Ray IV and Sammie were born, Phyllis moved back to help RJ and Maria through the “joys” of parenting. This was a true sacrifice as the only unfulfilled dream Phyllis ever had was to move to a warm climate.
Humor was the defining quality my mom would like to be remember for and, so she requested an obituary that was light hearted. However, the only part of her life she requested be free from joking was her dedication to the Carmelite Order. She was a Third Order Carmelite which she took almost as much pride in as she did her children and grandchildren. We ask you to remember this as you pray for her. Faith, family, and humor describes Phyllis and how she should would like to be remembered.
She is survived by her brothers Ron and Joe, her sister Diane, her mom Sylvia, her children RJ, Maria, and Phyl, her ex-husband Ray (fill in ex-husband joke here), her grandkids Phyllie, Ray, Sammie, Eric, Jude, and Ellie, her friends Sharron, Denise, Fr Chad, Fr Mike, etc., her landlord’s office manager Glen, her mechanic Steve….in fact she is survived by a whole host of people that now have to face the cold of Wisconsin with out her laugh to warm our hearts. We all will miss you mom and we love you.
For those who would like to tell Phyllis what they really think, a visitation will be held Monday, January 8, 2018, from 4 pm until 6 pm at Gunderson East Funeral Home, 5203 Monona Dr., Monona WI., with a rosary at 6 pm. An additional visitation will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 at 9:30 am at the church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 5101 Schofield St., Monona at 10:30 am on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. For those just wanting a free lunch arrive at 11:30 a.m. The burial will follow at St. Aloysius Cemetery in Sauk City.