Phyllis H. Meserow

Phyllis H. Meserow

Phyllis H. Meserow, beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, died peacefully in her sleep in the early morning of October 17, 2012, just shy of her 92nd birthday.

Phyllis, a woman of many talents and interests known to everyone as Phil, lived a long and full life. She was born on October 26, 1920, in Presidio, CA to Gladys and Howard Hale, and married Joseph Tod Meserow, at the time a lieutenant in the US Air Force, in 1942. They spent more than 63 years together, delighting in each other’s company and raising three children, before Tod passed on in 2005. Phyllis received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from the University of Texas – El Paso and the University of Minnesota, respectively.

She was a gifted musician, playing organ for any church that asked, playing and teaching piano, and singing in a variety of choirs over the year. She was an expert equestrian and a swimmer, teaching riding and horsemanship to many young persons in Colorado Springs and teaching over 5000 children to swim at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. These activities with children led her eventually to a career with the Girl Scouts of America (GSA), where she served as the GSA executive for three districts in three different states, as she moved to new locations as part of her life as a military wife.

Phyllis and Tod came to Madison in 1966, where Tod assumed his last assignment, as Commandant of U.S. Air Force ROTC at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Phyllis became executive director of the Black Hawk Council of GSA, a role she fulfilled with enthusiasm and great effectiveness. She was instrumental in the purchase of land for and setting up Camp Brandenburg in Dane County. She retired from the Girl Scouts in the late 1970s when she and Tod retired and built their dream home on several acres of land near Sauk City, which they named Timshel. They dedicated themselves to planting and developing the new homestead, and entertaining their local grandchildren. She was a truly wonderful grandmother to them, both spoiling them and teaching them values about land and life. Phyllis continued her musical interests, singing in a local choir and playing piano and organ. To sustain her lifelong interest in the game of bridge, she organized a ladies’ bridge group that met regularly. With a killer instinct she fought for every point in every hand to win the pot, which typically consisted of pennies and nickels. Along with her husband, she was involved in a number of charitable activities in the area, including The Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital, UW-Baraboo, St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo, and the Sauk Prairie United Way.

Phyllis is survived by her three children, Judy Meserow, Hale (Sue) Meserow, and Shelley (Max) Lagally, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband and one grandchild. A memorial service is planned for the future. The family suggests donations to the Good Neighbor Clinic of Sauk Prairie,1906 N. Street, Prairie du Sac; to UW Baraboo; or to a charity of the donor’s choice that reflects the values embodied by Phyllis’s life.