Phyllis Wise

Phyllis WisePhyllis Wise, age 93, of Ridgecrest, CA passed away September 22nd, 2021 while under the loving care of her family and the team members of Plymouth Village retirement community in Redlands, CA. Phyllis was many things to many people - wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, great grandmother, biologist, nature lover, square and round dancer, feminist, lifelong teacher, docent, school librarian, world traveler and explorer of foreign cultures, loyal friend and eternal optimist!

She volunteered and joined in her Ridgecrest community: Maturango Museum Docent, Pebble Pups, Girl Scout leader from Brownies to Cadettes, Cactus Squares, PTA, League of Women Voters, AAUW, United Methodist Church, IWV Concert Association, Laubach Literacy and SEEP in Sand Canyon. She helped wherever the need presented itself.

Raised in the Imperial Valley on the family farm, she learned to love the desert but also appreciate the wider world through family trips to Yosemite, Yellowstone, and West Coast beaches. She graduated from UCLA in 1950 with degrees in Zoology and Education. Wishing to live in the high desert, she took a job teaching Science at Burroughs Junior High School on the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) at China Lake, CA. She quickly proceeded to explore the desert with new friends in her jeep. She joined the local dance clubs and met her future husband, Russell Wise, at a square dance at the Community Center in Trona.

Phyllis was a woman ahead of her time in some ways. Russ and Phyllis insisted that everyone, girls and boys alike, graduate from college, be independent, do something we love, and contribute to society. That encouragement made a lifelong impact on our family.

Phyllis did her very best for all of us. She helped us achieve our dreams and enriched our lives with special family holidays, vacations and everyday lessons in sewing, gardening, cooking. We camped and backpacked in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where we learned the names of all the flowers, birds, peaks, lakes as we sang hiking songs. She lived a full life and was unafraid for her future. We imagine she is happy square dancing in Heaven with her husband of 62 years, Russ.

Phyllis is survived by her children Carolyn (Ro) McDaniel, Joe (Willie) Wise, Rob (Barbara) Wise, 5 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

Please join us at noon on Saturday, November 13th, 2021. Family and friends will gather at the Maturango Museum for a Celebration of Phyllis’ Life with a catered lunch and to share memories.

Contributions to the Maturango Museum in lieu of flowers would be Phyllis’ wish.

Story First Published: 2021-10-22