Phyllis Cecilia Vander Fehr Yancey passed away in her beloved Yancey’s Hilltop home on September 12, 2019, after a wonderful 94-year journey in which she enriched the lives of all around her. Born April 11, 1925, in Highland Falls, New York, Phyllis loved small-town life. She excelled in academics, served as a class officer and a cheerleader in her high school, worked as a “butter and ice girl” at a local restaurant because she was too petite to serve meals, and even danced in roller skates. After high school graduation in 1942 Phyllis took the civil service exam and began working at West Point in the Treasurer’s Office. There she met the love of her life, Cadet Bill Yancey, to whom she was married on June 5,1946 in the West Point Catholic Chapel.
For the next 33 years of Bill’s military aviation service, Phyllis -such an eternal optimist she did the daily crossword puzzle in ink- thought their frequent moves exciting and the family’s “next great adventure.” She personified her guiding precept of “Life is what you make it!” by creating warm, loving homes worldwide, the doors of which were always open to family and friends. And she volunteered everywhere she lived.
If Phyllis had a single inspirational force, it was rooted in her devout Catholicism. It helped her survive the death of her husband in 1995, and it moved her to continuously help others. She was a long-time parishioner of St. Rita Catholic Church in Alexandria. Whether preparing meals for the Alexandria Carpenter Shelter, singing for residents of local nursing homes, donating lovely needlepoints to the church bazaar, or enthusiastically cooking for the neighbors she loved at their twice-a-year gatherings, she was an uplifting inspiration to all. Even after Phyllis could no longer walk independently, she would sit in the glider in front of her house to greet neighbors young and old. Phyllis personified goodness, generosity, humor and compassion through every day of her life.
Phyllis was predeceased by her husband Major General (retired) William B. Yancey, Jr., son Thomas Frederick Yancey, and granddaughter Phyllis Morgan. She is survived by three children William B. Yancey III (Jerry Anne), Mary Jo Morgan (Joe), and Annette Allgood (Jim), her loving grandchildren and great grandchildren, and her beloved nephews and nieces.
A memorial Mass at St. Rita Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA will take place on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 12 noon, followed by the interment at Arlington National Cemetery at 2pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make any donations in the name of Phyllis V. Yancey to St. Rita Catholic Church, to St. Jude Children's Hospital, or to the American Red Cross.
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St. Rita Catholic Church
3815 Russell Road, Alexandria VA 22305
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 4002018, Des Moines IA 50340