Phyllis Reese (Owens) Ihly

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Phyllis Reese (Owens) Ihly peacefully passed away on Sunday, Aug. 19 at her home in Lewistown at the age of 79.

Phyllis was born in Beach, North Dakota on Nov. 1, 1938 to her loving parents, Harold and Olive Owens.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Dwayne K. Ihly of 56 years, her children, Cheri Pallett (Mike) and Mike Ihly (Bridget), grandchildren Matthew Pallett, Krista Nile (Kane, Grey, Scarlett), Betony Martin (Mike, Bern, Fox), Trevor Ihly, Zach Ihly, Jason Ihly, Travis Peacock (James, KayLynn), Christina Peacock, Aneasha Dean (Ryan), Chance Love (Candy, Leon), and Miles Cooper, brother-in-law George Ihly (Kari, Karen, Doug, Denise). She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Olive Owens, her infant brother Wayne, her father and mother-in-law Sebastian and Ella Ihly and nephew David Ihly.

Phyllis grew up in Bozeman and began playing the piano at an early age. At 16, she started playing the organ for church and accompanying soloists and choirs. One of the soloists she accompanied happened to be a young saxophone player, Dwayne, whom she married seven years later.

Phyllis graduated from Bozeman High School and Montana State University with a degree in music. She married Dwayne, the love of her life, soulmate, and best friend June 9, 1962. Dwayne and Phyllis were devoted parents to Cheri and Mike, always keeping their family and faith as their first priorities. Phyllis enjoyed a rewarding career teaching music in public schools (Federal Way, Livingston, Bozeman, Harlowton, Judith Gap, Alaska), giving private lessons and at the music school she and Dwayne started in Arizona. She served as the Minister of Music at St. Johns UMC in Kingman, Arizona before retiring in Montana. She and Dwayne were dance musicians and entertainers for over 30 years.

Phyllis loved adventure. No matter where it took her, one would hear her at the keyboard on Sunday morning, even in the Eskimo villages of Point Hope and Nuiquisit, Alaska. Phyllis enjoyed leading Bible studies with children and adults, and was a District Lay Leader, oftentimes delivering the Sunday message in the pastor’s absence in Denton. She touched all she met with love, grace, and a smile.

The family greatly appreciates the outpouring of love shown, through visits, calls, and messages. At Phyllis’s request, her family will have a private memorial ceremony. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the United Methodist Church in Denton.

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