Phyllis Mitchell

September 30, 1936November 17, 2013

Phyllis Mitchell West Des Moines

Surrounded by loving family, Phyllis Fayne (Davis) Mitchell, 77, of West Des Moines, IA died from complications caused by Alzheimer’s Disease at Mercy Hospice in Johnston, IA on November 17, 2013.

Phyllis was born in Stuart, Iowa on September 30, 1936, the first daughter of William & Cleo (Brittain) Davis. She attended Winterset Schools and graduated in 1953. Phyllis married Maurice Mitchell Sr. on December 20, 1953, and the two resided in Winterset before moving to West Des Moines in 1987 to be closer to their four children.

Phyllis is survived by her husband, Maurice Mitchell Sr.; children and grandchildren, Debra Mitchell & Larry Phillips; Maurice Jr. (Maury), Lisa, Tucker & Tanner Mitchell; Marvin, Mason, Morgan & Michael Mitchell; Joni, David, Mitchell, Grant & Mara Schnoes. Other survivors include three sisters, Irma Hohneke, Dee Hansen, Saundra Funke and numerous nieces and nephews.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, stepfather, brother, nephew and granddaughter Mary Frances Schnoes.

While Phyllis worked at a variety of companies prior to her retirement from Hospice of Central Iowa in 2005, her most rewarding jobs were in the healthcare industry including Winterset Memorial Hospital, Mercy West, and HCI. Being a part of the caregiving process was very natural for Phyllis. In fact her family often called her “Dr. Phyllis” because she was there to diagnosis whenever someone was ill.

Music also played an important role in Phyllis’s life. She was a member of the First Christian Church in Winterset, IA, where for many years she was the church organist and pianist. Phyllis also gave piano lessons to a number of young people from Winterset. Even as Phyllis’s health declined she was still drawn to the sound of music. Throughout her illness Maurice would have music playing in the house. Until her body became too weak Phyllis sat beside her daughters and granddaughter Mara at the piano. Sometimes she would put her hands on the keys and “play” and “sing”. While the sounds Phyllis made were not often recognizable, the music calmed her. She’s probably playing the organ and singing in heaven right now!

But most of all, for Phyllis it was about her family. From baking her famous brownies, lemon dessert and cherry cake to playing with her children and grandchildren, Phyllis did it all for her family. Even in the latter months of her life Phyllis would reach out with a weary hand if her instincts told her someone was in pain. She will be forever in our memories and hold a special place in our hearts.

A private celebration of Phyllis’s life will be held at Saint Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines, IA. The family will greet visitors from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Saint Francis of Assisi at 7075 Ashworth Rd in West Des Moines. Phyllis’s cremains will be buried near her granddaughter Mary Frances at Resthaven Cemetery in the Mitchell-Phillips-Schnoes plots.

Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Iowa Support Group, Dr. Steven Adelman, Mercy Hospice Home Care staff, Mercy Hospice-Johnston staff and Wesley Adult Day Services staff for helping our family cope, learn and care for Phyllis the past eight years. A special thanks to Jen and Courtney of Mercy Hospice who provided Phyllis’s home care assistance this year. Jen and Courtney, you treated Phyllis with dignity and respect; your love and compassion will never be forgotten.

It’s often said that Alzheimer’s disease is more difficult for the family than the patient. Without the love and emotional support from our family, friends, peers, coworkers and everyone who has listened to our story over the past eight years we couldn’t have made it to the other side of this journey. THANK YOU!

In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests that any memorial contributions be sent in Phyllis Mitchell’s honor to Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Iowa or Mercy Hospice.



  • Visitation Saturday, November 23, 2013


  • Private Celebration Service

Phyllis Mitchell

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Joyce and Larry Parker

December 1, 2013

So very sorry to hear of your loss. Phyllis was so thoughtful and always made a point of seeing our family when we visited Larry's parents.

November 24, 2013

Maurice, I am saddened to hear the news of the passing of your precious wife Phyllis. I know she was a wonderful person who was blessed with a loving family, that is a gift to celebrate. You were an amazing caregiver and I hope you feel comforted in knowing you gave your wife the best possible care. All of us in the Alzheimer's support group share in your grief.

Marcia Barfield

November 22, 2013

Maurice and family we are so sorry to hear of Phyllis passing our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

Steve & Linda Niblo

Susan (Lemar) Butler

November 22, 2013

Deb and Family,
Sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Keith Boll

November 22, 2013

Maurice and Family, Sorry To Hear Of Phyllis's Passing, I'm Remembering Seeing Her In The Office And Hearing Her Voice On The Radios On The Farm. Thinking Of You All.

Beth Bishop

November 21, 2013

Maurice, You and Deb, and Family,
I have been thinking of you lots in these past rough weeks. Maurice, you are a very special husband and caregiver. Your family has witnessed the best! You will each miss the presence of your wife, mother and grandmother, Phyllis, in the days to come. She was a light in your lives and you in hers. Know that she will continue to be with you as you look at the sky each night and see the twinkling stars above. Pick a star, think about "the good times" and enjoy reminiscing about times past. Laugh and cry together. My sincere sympathy to you all. May you each have peace in your hearts.

Sharon& Wayne Breeding

November 21, 2013

Today I thought of you Phyllis and all the fun we have had. I will really miss the best brownies! Thinking of you Maurice and family and send our love. She was a special friend

November 21, 2013

Deb, So sorry to hear of your loss. Your in our thoughts and prayers.
Ken and Connie Waltz and families

Dick & Jean Greenwood

November 20, 2013

Maury & Family
Thinking of you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

November 20, 2013

Shocked and sorry to learn of Phyllis' passing and the challenging years prior. There are lots of Winterset memories! You are in my prayers. Ellen Jandebeur