Phyllis Arlene Henderson, 82, died Wednesday, July 3, 2019. She was born July 10, 1936, in Kansas City, Mo., to Clarice Wilmina (Brown) Barnett and Arthur Elliott Barnett.
She graduated Kansas City’s Southwest High School in 1954. While a freshman at University of Kansas City (later UMKC), she met Fran Henderson, and they married on May 1, 1955.
After their three children were in school, she went back to UMKC and earned her degree in Early Childhood Education. She was a wonderful role model and mother, teaching by example values such as hard work, academic excellence, balancing career and children, and having harmonious family relationships.
In 1973 she founded Kinderhaus, a private preschool in Olathe, Kansas. For almost 30 years, she poured herself into providing the best preschool and daycare experience possible for hundreds of children, becoming personally involved with their families, and she was active in the Olathe community.
Ever the teacher, after retirement Phyllis devoted much time to her six grandkids as they grew, reading to them and taking them on outings. She taught preschool part time at Trinity Lutheran Church, participated in several book clubs, and volunteered at Blessings Abound Thrift Store.
Phyllis’ passion was gardening, and she filled her Prairie Village yard with flowers. She came to be known as “the daylily lady” because, with the help of son Doug, she grew, sold, and gave away every color of daylily in great numbers.
“Although daylilies were mom’s perennial favorite,” Doug said, “she also loved iris, peonies and mums. If she wasn’t pulling weeds or reorganizing her extensive paver collection, she was more than likely strategizing on which part of her yard she wanted me to dig up next year. There wasn’t much yard left!”
Phyllis was an active member at her church, and believed in her Lord and Savior, Jesus. She read her Bible, and enjoyed reading prayer books from Trinity Lutheran after she was unable to attend church regularly.
Although diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002, Phyllis was energetic and independent until recent years, and she patiently accepted Parkinson’s role in gradually reducing her abilities. She maintained her pleasant, positive attitude throughout her final years, and was peaceful, tranquil, and calm at the end.
Phyllis is survived by daughter Denise Henderson Vaughn, Mountain View, Mo., sons Duane Henderson, Lenexa, and Doug Henderson, DeSoto; three siblings: Beverly Blackwell, Leesburg, Florida, Bonny Manning, Kansas City, Kansas, and Gary Barnett, Overland Park; six grandchildren: Tegan Vaughn, Clara Vaughn, Alana Henderson Rock, Amy Henderson, Duncan Henderson, and Kori Henderson; and one great-grandchild: Kaia May Vaughn-Mason. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Vivian Spellman.
A memorial service is planned for July 12, 2019, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 5601 W 62nd St, Mission Kansas, 66202, with visitation starting at 10:45 am, memorial service at noon, then burial at Memorial Park Cemetery, 8251 Hillcrest Rd, Kansas City, Mo., 64138.
Because of Phyllis’ love of gardening, the family welcomes gifts of live plants instead of cut flowers, and plans to plant a tribute garden using the plants displayed during the funeral. Registration for this garden is with The Flower Man florist, Olathe. Alternatively, the family suggests donations to the Parkinson Research Foundation (parkinsonhope.org).
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