Phyllis Lucille Alexander, 51, of Brethren, died peacefully at her home on December 28, 2006. She was born on September 29, 1955 and was the youngest daughter of Alvin and Dorothy Brian.
Raised in a large family, Phyllis enjoyed singing with her brothers and sisters for family events and church gatherings. Her love of music led her to become an accomplished guitarist, mandolin and fiddle player. She was also an active member of the Brethren High School Band and was honored with the John Phillips Sousa Music Award upon her graduation.
Folk music was Phyllis’s primary love and while attending Manchester College in Manchester, IN she met her future husband, Rex, at a Friday night jam session at a local music store. Phyllis and Rex later married, moved to Marion, IN and formed the first of three folk bands in which they would play together. The Rex Brothers Family Band (including good friends Rex and Jackie Hall) performed at various local venues in Marion. After several years of Hoosier life, Phyllis was ready to return to her beloved Michigan forests and lakes. Instead of a honeymoon, she and Rex purchased 40 acres of land bordering Bear Creek and so they returned to Michigan, built a home, and began to raise their two children, Hannah and Phillip.
While their children were growing, Phyllis and Rex played music together with Tim Joseph in Alexander’s Old Time Band. Phyllis also played guitar and sang children’s songs for Wellston and Kaleva Elementary School students. Later, Phyllis and Rex went on to perform with the End-of-the-Road Band including guitarist Andy Amstutz and bass player Dave Grimes. Phyllis’s last musical performance was with her husband Rex for the Lakeview Church of the Brethren’s Women’s Fellowship. Both played guitar and sang old jazz favorites.
Phyllis considered being a mother her favorite and most important accomplishment. She was concerned that her children were happy, comfortable, well educated, and that they both inherit her love of music. Under her loving guidance, both children also became musicians, played in the Brethren High School Bands, and were awarded the John Phillips Sousa Music Award upon graduation from high school. To her great joy, both children also went on to play music in college. Phyllis was an inspiring, giving, and loving mother.
In addition to being a mother, Phyllis also was a well-loved secretary at Wellston Elementary School and a partner in her husband’s small cabinet-making business. Simplicity helped to keep her life in balance and she enjoyed nothing more than walking in the woods with one of her “critters” or folding laundry while listening to guitar music.
The family would like to graciously thank Wellston Elementary School, Kaleva Norman Dickson School District, Lakeview Church of the Brethren, and all of the family and friends who gave food, money, and time to aid Phyllis’s battle with cancer. With your help, Phyllis was able to give cancer her best shot, which she did for two years.
Memorials can be made to the Cancer Research Foundation, Attn: Donations Dept., P.O. Box 50226, Henderson, NV, 89016, The Lakeview Church of the Brethren 14049 High Bridge Rd., Brethren, MI 49619, or the Alma College Kiltie Band, 614 W. Superior St., Alma, MI 48801.
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