Florence Fae Taylor Phillips

Florence Fae Taylor Phillips, 89, took her last ride and passed through the doorway of heaven on Oct. 21, 2016 from natural causes. She was born to be a cowgirl on Feb. 5, 1927 in Wolf Point to Florence and Neil Taylor, joining sister Margaret, who was two years her senior. She spent her early years on the family ranch in Daniels County, 20 miles southeast of Scobey, pitching in with chores before she was even old enough to go to school. She learned to ride and love horses during that time, developing a passion for all things equestrian that would last a lifetime.  

The agricultural life was a great fit for Fae, who was driving and riding horses to school starting early in the elementary school ages, and accompanying her beloved dad on long trail rides by the time she was nine. She was active in the Scobey Saddle Club, riding in parades, competing in races and other events, and eventually becoming the first queen of the Wolf Point Stampede in 1950. Fae was a quick study in school, graduating as valedictorian from Scobey High School in 1945, and going on to attend Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and later, Montana State College in Bozeman.

While at Montana State, Fae chanced to catch a ride to Helena to see her state legislator dad with Robert K. (Bob) Phillips of Lewistown, whom she would marry in December 1950 and share life with for over 65 years. Bob and Fae joined her parents’ ranching operation shortly after their marriage, continuing in a family tradition of stewardship and husbandry that they too would hand down to future generations. They started their own family in Scobey, where sons James Edmund and Wesley Jay were born in 1951 and 1953.

In 1958, Bob and Fae purchased a stake in the Phillips ranch in the foothills of the South Moccasin Mountains near Lewistown, and moved to the area where they would spend their next 58 years together. In 1969, daughter Julie Marie joined the family. While never neglecting her role as mother and homemaker, Fae worked the ranch side-by-side with Bob, even after they moved to town in 1979.  Many in the family have fond memories of working cattle with Fae.

Outside of ranch and family, Fae participated in Bridge Club, Republican Women, Fergus County Cowbells, and the Gideons, and was active in the Presbyterian Church. An enthusiastic storyteller, photographer, and all around chronicler, Fae documented her family history in her book, “A Destiny Determined by the Flight of the Wild Filly” in 2009. In 2014, Fae was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, and she was thrilled to see her dad go in a year later. Fae had a tremendous impact on generations of her family, whether she was teaching important lessons about Christian morals, sharing horsemanship pointers, or explaining some of the finer points of the English language.

Fae is survived by husband Bob, sons Jim (Marla) and Wes (Susan), all of Lewistown, and daughter Julie (Aaron) Hansemann of Helena. Also surviving are grandchildren Clint (Sydni), Alyson, Kory (Jaymie), Scott, Tye (Rachael), Isabel, Aidan, Eloise, and Ainsley, along with six great-grandchildren, and former daughter-in-law Gayle Phillips, Great Falls. Preceding her in death were her parents, Neil and Florence, her sister Margaret, an infant son, Mark Donald, and an infant great granddaughter, Jayde.

A true western original, Fae was dearly loved and will be dearly missed. So long pardner, we’re proud to have been part of your crew.

Please join us for a gathering in Fae’s honor on Friday the 28th of October, 2016 at the basement fellowship hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Lewistown from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a sharing time beginning at 2:30 p.m. Memorials can be made to the First Presbyterian Church to go toward commemorative mirrors for the fellowship hall or to the Hospice House of Central Montana.

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Fae’s family and friends are invited to share memories and condolences at www.creelfuneralhome.com

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