Phyllis Christensen, known as Gracie to family and friends, passed away on May 4, 2020. She was 81 years of age.
Gracie was born on July 20, 1938 in Iowa to Aage Emanuel and Edna (Duvall) Christensen. She met and married Don Kirkland while attending Minnesota Bible College and together they raised four children.
For almost twenty years, she served several congregations as a preacher’s wife and was beloved by many for her inspirational messages about living a life of faith. Her Sunday school classes were favorites with young people who eagerly competed to win her hand-drawn caricatures on poster board. She then transitioned her skills to a funeral home in Amarillo, Texas, where she served as the receptionist and funeral director’s secretary. There she used her gift of compassion to help ease the grief of those who lost loved ones. When her youngest granddaughter was born, Gracie retired so she could become a full-time nanny. She enjoyed spending time with all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and looked forward to opportunities to spend time with family who lived outside Texas. She loved children and was very proud of her volunteer position as the Door Lady at Hillside Terrace Elementary School in Amarillo where she greeted students as they began their school day and ensured it started with a smile. After being diagnosed with vascular dementia, Gracie moved to Wisconsin to spend her last years where the majority of her family reside.
Gracie will be forever loved and missed.
She is survived by her children Delora (Chris) Newton, Kenn Kirkland, Della Bloom, and Kris (Steve) White; seven grandchildren Jesse (Nichole) Newton, Don (Christine) Newton, Cody Newton, Bretney (Mike) Bloom, Dalton (Libby) Bloom, Amber (Eddie) Pierce, and Dana White; five great-grandsons; sister Shirley Fortune; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers Dean, Paul, and David Christensen.
A private celebration of life service will be held at Ryan Funeral Home – Verona, Wisconsin on May 6, 2020.
Friends are welcome to attend the graveside service on May 9, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at Llano Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo.
Gracie’s family would like to thank the staff at Willow Pointe Memory Care and Agrace Hospice for the care and compassion they showed her and the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Agrace Hospice Foundation, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711 or the Northwest Dane Senior Center, 1837 Bourbon Rd, Cross Plains, WI 53528, where Gracie spent many fun-filled hours each week before moving into memory care.