Phyllis Hancock, 89, of Atlantic, died peaceably in her sleep following complications from heart surgery on Tuesday, July 1, 2020.
Phyllis was born on May 20, 1931, in Atlantic, IA, to Walley and Emma Kline. She graduated from Atlantic High School in 1950. Following graduation, Phyllis worked at Enocksen Ice Cream Shop in Atlantic. She then worked at the Iowa State Auto Insurance agency in Des Moines.
Shortly after, Phyllis, in 1953, married David Hancock, also from Atlantic; he was attending Iowa State University at the time. David, a logistician, received his commission from the U.S. Air Force in 1954 following his graduation and together they embarked upon an adventurous military career spanning three decades crossing the globe.
After their first assignment at Chanute Air Force Base, IL, they deployed together to Japan with their first daughter, Diane, born in 1954. Phyllis braved a long Pacific crossing by herself with Diane to join David, first in Nagoya, and later in Tokyo, where their second child, Sandra, was born in 1957. Their next adventure brought them to Keesler AFB, MS, where they served through 1965, with Phyllis capably fulfilling all the myriad duties, roles, and responsibilities incumbent upon the loving wife of an Air Force Officer with a young family. She excelled and embraced her role completely. They deployed next to Taipei, Taiwan, in 1966. Following their return to the USA in 1968, Phyllis and David lived in Richmond, VA, for duty at the Defense General Supply Center. While David next deployed for duty in Vietnam, Phyllis courageously held down the fort with her daughters in Virginia, gratefully welcoming David’s safe return home in June 1972, just in time for Diane’s high school graduation. Successive military duty assignments to Scott AFB, IL, Dover AFB, DE, and Norton AFB, CA followed.
Phyllis and Dave bought their first home outside of Norton in beautiful Redlands, CA where wild orange groves beckoned just beyond their back fence. Retiring from the military in 1980, Dave transitioned to a civilian career as a senior executive with the Los Angeles County Medical System. Most couples might have chosen to retire in idyllic California, but Phyllis and Dave remained native Iowans at heart, longing to return. They bought their retirement home in Atlantic, IA, in 2002, coming full circle, returning to their roots to live out their later years together.
Their home on Aspen Drive in Atlantic, similar to their previous home in Redlands, remained filled with children, grand-children, and even great grand-children as the years passed. Phyllis remained the love of Dave’s life and life partner for over 67 years. She epitomized the sacrifice and immeasurable contributions that only a military wife fully understands, choosing to faithfully serve at her husband’s side, enabling him and their children to prosper through all the risks and challenges unique to a life spent in military service.
Besides being the prototype of a successful military wife and multi-tasker through their years of hazardous military service, Phyllis also developed quite a host of skills unique to her. She was known as a master cross-stitcher and maintained a high bowling average through years of fierce league competitions on bases. She was also a sharp card player, thoroughly enjoying beating everyone at the table in a variety of games. Phyllis’ annual home-made Christmas candy distributions to friends and family were also legendary. She especially loved her grand-children and visiting Grammie and Grandpa’s house remained a highlight of their lives to this day.
Phyllis is preceded in death by her parents, sister, Sis, and brothers Bus, Lawrence, and Norman and great-granddaughter, Lana Mercer.
Phyllis is survived by her two children; Diane (Harry) Helfrich and Sandra (Mike) Conley, four grandchildren; Allison Mercer, Kurt, and Kimberly Helfrich, and David Conley, and four great-grandchildren; Piper, Tyler, and Jolie Helfrich, and Lucy Mercer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Wiota Methodist Church in Phyllis’ name.
Visitation, with the family present, will be from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday, July 5th at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 6th at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic. Burial will be at the Atlantic Cemetery.
The family has requested that masks be worn for the visitation and service.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Phyllis' family and her arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Phyllis J. Hancock
May 20, 1931 - Atlantic, Iowa
July 1, 2020 - Council Bluffs, Iowa
At the age of 89 years, 1 month & 12 days
10:30 a.m., Monday, July 6, 2020
Roland Funeral Home - Atlantic, Iowa
Pastor Garry DeGeest
“In the Garden”
by Heidi Hinman
“My Way” recorded by Frank Sinatra
HONORARY CASKET BEARER
Atlantic Cemetery - Atlantic, Iowa
Memorials may be directed to the Wiota United Methodist Church.
The family invites you to join them for a luncheon,
following services at the cemetery, at Roland Funeral Home.