Phyllis J. Tucker, age 95, of Alexandria, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, Alomere Health in Alexandria.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Alexandria with Rev. James Walburg officiating. Music is provided by Sue Nelson. Interment is at Geneva Cemetery, Alexandria.
Visitation is from 5-7 p.m., Monday, October 11, at the church and will continue one hour prior to the service.
Phyllis Joyce Elaine Diedrich was born September 15, 1926, at home on the family farm in Leaf Valley Township, Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. Her parents were Alfred and Frieda (Ziesemer) Diedrich. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, rural Miltona. She attended rural school at District 59 through the 8th grade and graduated from Central School in Alexandria, in 1944. She worked at the Blue Ribbon Bakery and Johnson Creamery to pay for room and board while attending high school. Her mother persuaded her to take the Civil Service Test as jobs were available in Washington, DC to support the war effort. She was offered a position at the Pentagon in 1945, and although she did not want to, she boarded the train with a one-way ticket and headed to her new life. Her first job required a high security clearance as she sent coded messages through the Signal Corps. Although she was very homesick, one thing that kept her in the city was SHOPPING a love that stayed with her as 2 weeks before she passed she shopped every aisle at TJ Max!
Phyllis held many positions at government agencies including the Office of Emergency Planning (during the Cold War where her office was in charge of evacuating Congress in case of a nuclear attack) and the Office of Science and Technology. Her typing and stenography skills were exceptional which led her to be asked to join the White House staff as an executive secretary. She served in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She even had her own parking space near the White House!
In 1947, Phyllis was united in marriage to John Tucker, a marriage that lasted until 1994, when John passed away from lung cancer. Phyllis lovingly cared for him during his long fight with this disease.
In 1948, Phyllis and John welcomed their only child, me, Karen Joyce. My mother was an amazing woman - an incredible cook, (starting with baking all the family meals on a wood stove while her mother did farm chores) Girl Scout leader of 12 junior high girls, master gardener, (a member of 3 garden clubs), excellent bowler and most of all a friend to everyone. Mom moved to Alexandria to be closer to me and her beloved granddaughters and great granddaughters. She met her soulmate, Harold Olson and together they traveled on riverboat cruises in Europe and spent winters at Rincon West RV Park in Tucson, AZ. Mom was very independent, living in her own home until a fall in 2020 at the age of 94, forced her move into Windmill Ponds. She always lived with the hope of going back to her home, and with the help of Hospice, she was able to spend her last responsive days looking out her windows with her beloved cat, Benny by her side. Mom passed away peacefully at Alomere Hospital with granddaughter Ann and me holding her hands. She was very quiet about her faith but she had a true Christian heart, knowing that we will be reunited again.
Mom is survived by her loving daughter, Karen (Armon) Kaehler of Alexandria; granddaughters, Ann (Mike) Lillehaugen of Alexandria and Sarah (Dave) Peterson of Whitefish, Montana; four great granddaughters, Madison, Meaghan, and Myah Johnson all of Dilworth, Minnesota and Josephine Peterson, of Whitefish, MT; former son-in-law, James Vollrath; sister-in-law, Lynda Diedrich of Cold Spring; and six nieces and a nephew.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; brother Larry; and beloved friend, Harold Olson.
Pallbearers are Mark Diedrich, Michelle (Diedrich) Newlander, Bill and Jan Zarbok, James Vollrath, and Neal Zappe. Honorary pallbearers are members of Phyllis’ Garden and Birthday Clubs, and Kim Kadel, CNA.
Memorials preferred to the Lakes Area Human Society, Alexandria.