September 19, 1938 - September 11, 2021
Phyllis June Owens Fanning passed away on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Phyllis found her way home, peacefully in her sleep. In her life, she was a great wife, musician, seamstress, cook, artist, and mother. Visitation will be Tuesday, September 14th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Sanders Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at Southcrest Baptist Church Wednesday, September 15th at 11:00 am with graveside services to immediately follow at the Lubbock Cemetery. Phyllis was born September 19, 1938, to Reverend Elmer Doyle Owens and Mozelle Gamblin Owens. She was raised in rural East Texas, where her father was a Baptist minister and dairy farmer, and her mother was a country schoolteacher. Her father educated her thoroughly in Missionary Baptist theology and Phyllis thrived on Bible study. Her mother taught her how to plant a vegetable garden, harvest its bounty, shell and put up home-grown peas, freeze peaches, churn butter, can preserves and pickles, tailor-make clothing, sing, play piano, and cook or bake anything to delicious perfection. When Phyllis was just shy of ten years old, her brother David was born. The Owens family emphasized church attendance, simple play and the responsibilities of farm life, which included caring for dairy cows and pigs. Phyllis's social life was rooted in Center Grove Baptist Church, where she was prominent as the Pastor's daughter. She grew into a beautiful young woman in this loving community, where her priorities were family and Christian devotion. At church, she met the young man who became the love of her life, Norris Lynn Fanning. Norris would later write about her: "I used all the tricks I knew courting her. I bought her little gifts from the store where I worked. I never missed a date, though one time I had to drive the Chevy through a blizzard to get there. Mother thought I had lost my mind, and she was right. Phyllis stood on the steps of her front porch when I kissed her goodnight. One night, I asked her if she would wait for me to finish college and be my wife. She said she would. It was the best day of my life." At the tender age of 17, she married her sweetheart on July 28th, 1956. They moved together to Lubbock, Texas, and started a family. Cynthia came along in 1958, followed by Scott in 1959, and Doyle in 1965. Phyllis was an amazing mother and homemaker, feeding and clothing her family, supporting her husband's education and career, while also being of constant service to her church and local community. Generous of heart and spirit, she lived her life guided by Bible scripture and dedicated to Christian service. She sewed entire wardrobes for needy families, and often carried her homemade casseroles to sick or grieving church-members. Norris's youngest sister Diana recently shared one touching example of Phyllis's kindness. In the 1960s when Diana was a college student, she was in charge of wardrobe for a school theatrical production. Only a few days away from opening night, Diana discovered that she needed 8 women's capes. She scoured the wardrobe department but there were none to be found. Diana remembered that Phyllis was a seamstress and reached out to her for help. Phyllis immediately dropped what she was doing and promptly created 8 beautiful capes for Diana. The theater director was very impressed, the production went well, and Diana got an A in the course. Phyllis never hesitated to lend a hand, anywhere and anytime, and did her best to impart these values to her children. Phyllis was a gifted artist with a unique flair for colorful design. She ran a ceramics studio called "PJ's Ceramics", and taught classes in ceramics for many years. She loved working with clay, paint and the kiln. Also a talented quilter, she made numerous quilts, had sustaining friendships with the women in her quilting circle, and served as a judge for quilts submitted to the South Plains Fair annual competition. She was known for gifting unique custom-designed quilts to each child born into her family. Every life passage of a family member was marked with a quilt from Phyllis. It saddened her when she no longer had the stamina to quilt in her later years. Phyllis made several lifelong friends in Lubbock. One of her best friends, Jo Simmons, was able to visit with Phyllis recently and share memories of the good times they had in their younger days. Jo recalled Phyllis's amazing food, which was loved by everyone. Jo and Phyllis were frequently heard singing the Gaither classic, "He Touched Me" in many church services through the years. After Jo and Phyllis had lost their husbands, they unexpectedly encountered one another in a physical therapy rehab setting. Phyllis spotted Jo and began singing a gospel duet. Jo joined in and everyone in the room enjoyed their impromptu musical performance. Music was a huge part of Phyllis's life. She loved to play piano and sing in her strong, rich alto voice. Even as her strength waned, she sang hymns every day to hospital staff, doctors, nurses and even ambulance technicians. During the last week of her life, after her diagnosis with a terminal blood-clotting disorder, she continued singing - as she left the hospital, and as she lay in bed at her home. She even burst into song early one morning a few days before she passed away. Her favorites during the last months of her life were: "Without Him," "Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know," "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," and "There's Just Something About That Name." Jo Simmons recently prayed that Phyllis would be granted the grace to sing all the way to heaven. Phyllis was completely devoted to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus was on her lips constantly, particularly after she lost her beloved husband in March 2021. Navigating a world without Norris was nearly impossible for Phyllis, but she relied daily on her faith to sustain her. Her favorite Bible scripture was 2nd Timothy, Chapter 1, Verse 7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Phyllis and Norris would have celebrated 65 years together in July. Although they did not celebrate that milestone together on earth, they are surely reunited in heaven and celebrating now. Phyllis will be missed by many dear friends and her family who adored her. She is survived by her daughter Cynthia Juno (and wife Jill Kasofsky), son Scott Fanning (and wife Edie), son Doyle Fanning (and wife Kathy), grandchildren Tyler Fanning (and wife Laura), Bonnie Wright (and husband Greg), Hannah Vest (and husband Hayden) and Jake Juno-Kasofsky. Phyllis was blessed to have four great-grandchildren: Jackson Scott Fanning and Brock Michael, Jay Kendrick & Dean Allen Wright. She is also survived by her brother David Owens (and Emma), sisters-in-law Rosemary Fanning Trevino (and Joseph) and Diana Meadows (and Pat), brothers-in-law Jim Fanning and John Fanning (and Michaele), and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. In lieu of flowers, Phyllis would have loved to have you support the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at https://donate.nami.org/.
Phyllis June Owens Fanning passed away on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Phyllis found her way home, peacefully in her sleep. In her life, she was a great wife, musician, seamstress, cook, artist, and mother. Visitation will be Tuesday, September... View Obituary & Service Information
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