Phyllis was born on July 17, 1934, in her family’s home outside of Franklin. She went to her heavenly home on December 12, 2022. She grew up in the countryside in a very close-knit, hard-working, farming family. She remained close to her siblings throughout her life.
Phyllis graduated from Franklin High School in 1951 and married her sweetheart, Floyd Brunette, in 1952. Their son, Floyd Gaylon, was born in June of 1953, and the next month, Floyd was killed by a land mine in Korea, having never met his son. After a time, Phyllis and Gaylon moved to Bryan to live with her sister and husband, Eddice and Bland Watson, and went to work at Montgomery Ward. She became close friends with a couple who worked in the store (Bill and Verlia Wheeler), and they set her up on a date with Frank Shenkir, Bill’s classmate at Texas A&M. Frank and Phyllis had a six-week courtship and were married September 10, 1957. Frank adopted Gaylon as his own, and their daughter Juanice was born in 1958. After living in both Bryan and Houston for a time, they lived in Hearne for nearly 25 years while Frank served as the Resident Engineer at the Texas Highway Department. They subsequently moved to College Station and then to Bryan.
Phyllis was a homemaker while her kids were in school. When they were bigger, she worked at Eastside Elementary and Wilson Brothers in Hearne. Through all her years she enjoyed canning jelly, pickles, and green beans. She was an excellent seamstress who made clothes for herself, her children and grandchildren, and even Frank and Gaylon’s shirts in the early years. She was an artist who created many acrylic paintings and charcoal drawings and, for many years, painted with a wonderful group of friends in the basement of Grace United Methodist Church in Hearne. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting and many other types of crafts.
Phyllis and Frank enjoyed years of camping and made many good friends on their excursions. Their favorite thing to do together was being with family, whether close or extended. They enjoyed nearly 52 years of marriage before Frank’s death in 2009.
First Baptist Church of Bryan was Phyllis’ church for many years. She loved worshiping there and fellow-shipping with the senior adults, especially her friends in the Eunice class.
Phyllis is preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Jessie Ellison; husband Floyd Brunette; husband Frank Shenkir; brothers Malan Ellison (Claudie) and Garvis Ellison; sisters Eddice Watson (Bland), Lois Rabe (H.W.), and Helen Ellison; and grandson Jeremy Knight. She is survived by brother Doyle and wife Nita Ellison of Friendswood; sister-in-law Helen Ellison of Cypress; sister Geneva Mitchell of Boone Prairie; son Gaylon and his wife Tanya of Hearne; daughter Juanice Knight and husband Shorty of Franklin; grandsons and spouses Zachary and Erin Shenkir, and Jonathan and Gloria Shenkir; granddaughters and spouses Kari and Matthew Rigney, and Lindsey and John Mitchell; great-grandchildren Charles Shenkir, Julia and Jason Shenkir, Eva, Caleb, Samuel, and Julianne Rigney, and Carson, Asher, and June Mitchell. Phyllis is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews, whom she dearly loved, and by many precious friends.
Heartfelt thanks goes out to the team of professionals from Traditions Home Health, specifically Amy, Tonya, Jenny, and Marcella, who ministered so beautifully to our mom. We also are overwhelmingly grateful to the staff at Crossroads Nursing and Rehabilitation in Hearne. Their loving care and kindness for our mom will never be forgotten. We are so grateful to the folks from Traditions Hospice who made our mom’s last days comfortable. Emily, Haile, Rick, Gabe,and Chester, thank you. Finally, we are lovingly indebted to Erin, who became Mama’s good friend as Erin went over and above to care for her.
In lieu of flowers, Phyllis asked that memorials be made to First Baptist Church of Bryan, 3100 Cambridge Drive, Bryan, TX 77802, or a charity of your choice.