S: Emma Jane Phillips
BC: You will forever be in our hearts...
FC: Emma Jane Phillips
1: Dedicated to the woman who loved us so deeply
2: Emma Jane Pilnik was born May 22, 1928 to Walter Pilnik and Sara Ruth Burton in Chicago. Jane lived there for the next five years before moving to Harvey, IL, a suburb of Chicago. She had one brother, Frank Burton Pilnik, who was born March 9, 1930. Jane graduated from Thornton High School in 1946 and soon after attended Silver Cross Hospital Nursing School in Joliet, IL where she became a registered nurse in 1948. From the time she was little, Jane had always dreamed of becoming a nurse. Later it was said that if Jane had been born and raised in present day she would undoubtedly have become a doctor. In 1946, Jane met Thomas Edward Phillips, a WWII veteran. Tom was born in Harvey, IL in his parent's (Howard Bushland Phillips and Ruth Silverthorn Vance) house on December 11, 1923. His mother was convinced he was a girl while pregnant with him, so he was therefore born without a name. His parents quickly decided to name him after both of their fathers: Thomas Ashley Phillips and Edward Vance.
3: Tom's brother was a dentist who worked in the same building as Jane and had been encouraging Tom to come in and meet, "that really cute brunette." | He finally did, but at age 18, Jane felt the four and a half year difference between them was too much, thinking Tom was too old for her and refused his initial pursuit. However Jane's charm could not keep him away for long. Four years later they were married at Harvey Federated Church on September 9, 1950.
4: Jane and Tom lived in Harvey, IL until 1954. While there, Jane gave birth to Barbara Jane Phillips on April 13, 1952 at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey. Emma Jane continued the tradition through her daughter that was first recorded in 1861 by naming her daughter with a middle name of Jane. The first recorded was Samantha Jane, Emma Jane's grandmother. Two years later, while she was pregnant with her second, Tom was transfered to St. Paul, MN for his work with 3M. Although they initially moved for a better business opportunity, they would grow to deeply love the Twin Cities. St. Paul was only eight hours from Harvey, where the rest of their families resided, and they enjoyed the space and always thought it was one of the best things they ever did. That same year on June 8, 1954 James Edward Phillips was born at Miller Hospital in St. Paul. Not long after in 1955, the Phillips moved from their duplex on Good Rich to 2246 Fairmont Avenue. The house was a block up from the Mississippi River and would be the house "Barbie and Jimmy" spent most of their childhood growing up in. However as time passed, Jane dreamed of a house with a foyer that opened up to a central staircase immediately upon entering the house. Therefore in 1964 they moved one block over (because they still loved the neighborhood) to 2230 Princeton where Jane got her foyer and central staircase for a mere $22,000. The Phillips lived here for the next five years.
5: Four years later they bought a cabin on Lake Viola. The cabin was one of their favorite spots to get away to, and it continued as a family tradition for their children and their children's children. Then in 1969, they moved to the suburbs of St. Paul to 642 Maple Park Drive in West St. Paul where they lived until 1992. Tom was doing very well at his job at Control Data, and they decided to buy a house that was still being built so they could customize the decor and floor plans. With their kids off to college, Jane went back to work part-time in 1972 for four years as a RN at a nursing home. | Then in 1992, they moved to Arizona to retire at 3324 Avenida O'Conor (yes, there were many an argument about how to pronounce O'Conor) in Green Valley. They had looked for a warm place to retire, and finally they decided on Green Valley because most of their friends had moved there from MN (at least 30 couples). They loved Arizona, the weather, their home with its spacious patio, scenic mountain views, endless hours of golf, and continual presence of friends (that would soon be known as the Minnesota Club). Jane would always say to her children, "Your dad has died and gone to heaven." Over the years Tom and Jane acquired a son and daughter -in-law (Lee Elrod and Janine Olson) and four grandchildren (Dana and Chad Elrod and Lindsay and Bryan Phillips). Tom and Jane loved their family so much and spent holidays and summers visiting. Earlier on in their grandchildren's lives, Jane was talking on the phone to Lee when he told Dana (who he nicknamed D), "Say hi D." Very smartly the 18-month old answered back, "Heidi!". And that was that! Jane loved it so much that it stuck, and she would forever be called Heidi. May 11, 2004 Tom passed away, and things would never be the same. Jane, deciding not to leave Arizona, continued to travel to see her family. In a span of four years two of her grandkids were married (Dana to Josh Lowe and Chad to Annie West), and starting in 2007 she became a great grandmother to Will James and later Andie Jane. Her family was the pride of her life. The Phillips and Elrod family celebrated life with her until August 15, 2010. She will always be remembered as a peppy, spirited women with a razor sharp intellect and adventurous spirit. She loved us all so deeply and will forever be a source of inspiration.
6: "First, last and always-I remember what a wonderful mother she always was. My whole life I always knew that nothing was more important to her than her family. She (along with my dad) made a warm, safe, and loving home for us. I always knew I could count on her for everything-a wonderful way to grow up." -Barb | "I used to love watching her get ready to go out for the evening-to a party or whatever-putting on make-up and a nice dress. Jim and I got to watch extra TV and have a TV dinner-and change the channel to All Star Wrestling (which we weren't allowed to watch) once they left the house!" -Barb
7: "She always made special Easter dinners, either leg of lamb or ham loaf. She also came up with our family tradition of ham and potato salad for Christmas Eve dinner-I think because she liked to have something that could be all ready when we got home from church. Also eggs Benedict for Christmas morning was her idea." -Barb and Lee | "She was good at helping others-always involved in some kind of volunteer work." -Barb
8: "When we ordered flowers for our wedding the florist wrote down, 'groom white rose with a green behind'. Heidi thought that was so funny and would often ask if I really had a green behind." -Lee | "When Barb and I were first dating Heidi was always afraid that Tom-Grandpa would 'scare me off'. One evening, the first time I came along to the cabin, Tom and I were on the dock and he farted pretty loud-tried to cough to cover it up, but his timing was a little off. Heidi heard him. She wasn't pleased!" -Lee
9: "She always loved to tell the story of when I was little and asked about the 'wave' in the front of her hair. I asked, 'Did you come that way?' She always thought it was so cute that I said it that way. She also always loved to play with my hair, brush it or put it in a ponytail or just sit behind me and play with my hair. She still did it, even the last time she was here visiting." -Dana | "Heidi used to say, 'Skin a rabbit!' when she would get me into my pajamas when I was a little guy. I always remember that. Also when we picked her and Grandpa up from the airport for the holidays she would always sing to Dana and I, 'It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas'." -Chad
10: "She was an equally wonderful grandmother to our children. She loved her grandchildren so very much!!! She would have done anything to help her family." -Barb | "I remember when we used to visit their house in St. Paul and the first thing I would do was run up the stairs to her closet and get out her shoes. I loved her shoes! I also loved to play dress-up with her clothes, she always had SO many clothes and I loved to look at them all." -Dana
11: MAKING MEMORIES
12: "I remember Heidi driving me into Monroe in our station wagon and we’d driven a few miles before she realized the emergency brake was still on. And of course she said, 'We don’t need to tell Mom & Dad about that'.” -Dana | "I remember her and grandpa taking us kids (Lindsay, Bryan, Chad & I) into town in our station wagon to buy ice cream and my grandpa drove out of the parking lot, thinking it was a driveway, and drove right off the curb. They said, 'We don’t really need to tell Mom & Dad about that.' Of course, that was the first thing we did when they got home that night." -Dana
13: "She was scared to death of cats-never really knew why and just couldn't get over it-even with Ollie. She did try, but again, usually more screaming." -Barb | "She always hated being short, but was a good sport about it. My dad would tease her about it-called her a little shrimp. She was a fun person to tease, because she always took things for what they were-all in fun. Examples: she was very afraid of mice-we would put dead mice on her dresser at the cabin and wait to hear her scream! Chad and Dana would put rubber snakes and fake dog poop in her room or the bathroom at our house when she was visiting and wait for the scream." -Barb | "Not a big animal lover-but-she had me for a daughter! I brought home a kitten when I was 5, begged to keep it, and did. It only stayed on and off for about 2 years. I begged for a dog for about 5 years-finally got our Ginger. Mom really ended up loving that dog. She was also a very good sport with us having 2 big Airedales, sometimes in her house. Rocky (our male) had some housebreaking issues-did his business right in Mom's living room-that one about did her in!" -Barb
14: J O Y
15: "Christmas morning Grandpa would open his proverbial box of See's peanut brittle that Heidi annually gifted. She would instruct him, 'Oh Tom, you don't need to be eating that right now.' Of course he would indulge. She always got a kick out of that I think." -Chad | "Chad and I used to get sooo excited when Heidi and Grandpa came to visit! We’d get excited weeks before they arrived because they were so much fun and they always did special things for us. I especially loved when they came each Christmas - Heidi would have her tin of Chex mix, her tin of Spritz cookies, the Christmas pudding (all wrapped in foil) and of course, a box of Fanny May chocolates. They bought one for Christmas every year, and it was special when Chad & I were old enough to pick one out and eat one. We spent every Christmas but one with them until I was 22. I can picture Heidi opening her gifts in her little robe on Christmas morning and the way she’d nibble on her coffee cake and drink her coffee." -Dana
16: "I loved the way she smelled. She always smelled sooo good, and I loved to look at her perfumes. My first perfume was a Christmas gift from Heidi and Grandpa. It was an Este Lauder perfume, and I wanted it because it was the same one that Heidi wore." -Dana | "I can still feel how soft her cheeks were and what they felt like when I gave her a kiss." -Dana | "Mom did not like pictures of herself and would on occasion actually cut herself out of a picture." -Barb | "A few years ago we had some bear sausage. We cooked it for breakfast and told Heidi what it was, but she wouldn't believe us. She said, 'I know Jimmy Dean when I taste it!'." -Lee | "The first many years we were married I always got a nice fresh wreath from Tom and Jane for my birthday. She also knew how much I like peanuts and often got special gourmet peanuts for my birthday or Christmas." -Lee | "We always had a blue car growing up. She would always say, 'We have a blue car because we are a blue family'. " -Barb
17: "We went down to Arizona in April of 2003 to visit and also surprise Heidi and Grandpa with our engagement. We went with Barb and Jim, Lindsay and Bryan were there too. One night after Heidi and Grandpa had gone too bed, Jim and Bryan were wrestling in the hallway and they ran into the washer and dryer and it made a loud noise. Little tiny Heidi in her nightshirt, half asleep, came out of their room and yelled, 'Who the hell are there?!' It was hilarious!" -Josh | "When we were down in Green Valley for Grandpa’s memorial, Chad, Bryan, Dana and I stayed at a hotel and everyone else stayed at Heidi’s. We had Sue along so she stayed at Heidi’s as well, in the garage. Heidi felt bad that she was out there all alone so she had Barb bring her in the house. Thankfully Heidi can’t see very well because the floor was COVERED in dog hair. You could see it all over the white linoleum. Because Sue was hot and stressed she was shedding even more. Heidi would’ve been mortified if she could’ve seen it." -Josh
18: "She was a very supportive and loving wife." -Barb | "If I was in the room and she needed to reach something she would always ask, 'Is there anyone tall around here?' " -Lee | "She would often color her own hair and would ask us, 'What color is my hair today?' " -Lee
19: "Many years ago we had some geese. Heidi agreed to cook them for Sunday dinner-she didn't mind wild bird, just not game animals. They got cooked way too long. We always kidded her about the goose jerky she made." -Lee | "I’d forgotten, but she always made Grandpa drink coffee even though he didn’t really like it. She probably forced him because it was a social thing to drink a cup of coffee. He’d appease her, but I don’t know that he ever really liked it." -Dana | "She was not much of an outdoor person, especially as she got older-but really loved Arizona. At the cabin we would make her go water skiing, and she would-but hated it the whole time, even though she actually did okay." -Barb | "One of my favorite things about holidays and any get togethers really was being able to discuss ideas with Heidi. She always had the intellectual horsepower to go there and really enjoyed good conversation. She was the best at holiday cheer and getting everyone in the mood for Christmas. I will definitely miss that. Life with her was always so much fun." -Chad
23: Lowe Ranch | "I remember her always telling me how special I was and then she’d give me a big hug. She said it every time we saw each other, and I can distinctly remember the last time she said it. It was just this last August at my Mom & Dad’s, and I’d dropped the kids off for a couple hours, and she said it to me while I was heading out the front door." -Dana
24: Love | "My best memories are how much she loved us all and how proud she was of Chad and Dana." -Barb | "Heidi was always a source of happiness and joy. She possessed the perfect mix of intelligence, cunning, wit, humor, playfulness, and many times frivolity. I can say I wouldn't have the ability to love like I can today had she not modeled it so selflessly to me." -Chad
25: Her legacy... | "I have so many wonderful memories of Heidi that I could go on forever. She meant so much to me, and we always had a special bond, her and I. I will always miss her." -Dana