Phyllis Stephens Luke passed away peacefully on March 1, 2022. She was born on March 1, 1938, in Hollywood, Florida, to Eloise and Carrol Stephens. The family moved to Ft. Meade, Florida, while she was very young. She grew up there and attended, and graduated from, Ft. Meade High School. She was active in the Ft. Meade Baptist Church and participated in mission trips to Ohio and North Carolina. After high school, she entered Florida State University where she graduated in 1960 with a major in-home economics.
In August 1960, Phyllis began a teaching career as a home economics teacher at Belle Glade High School. There she met Therrell Luke, a teacher, and coach, at the high school. They were married a year later, August 1, 1961. While living in Belle Glade, she also taught at Belle Glade Junior High School and Glades Day School. In 1963, Phyllis and Therrell began their full family with the birth of their son, Brian. Over the next few years, Wade and Lisa joined the family.
In 1970, the family relocated to Palm Springs when Therrell began employment in the Palm Beach County School Board offices in West Palm Beach. In November of that year, the final member, daughter Dana, joined the family. For a number of years, Phyllis was a full-time housewife and mother. During this time, she worked toward certification in elementary education through Florida Atlantic University and Nova University. In 1977, she began as an elementary teacher at Clifford O. Taylor Kirklane Elementary School in Palm Springs, the school of her children. She had a special interest in the environment and took classes on field trips for related studies including to the Florida Keys. She retired in 1997. On her retirement, a butterfly garden was established at the school and dedicated in her honor. In retirement, she and Therrell enjoyed their family and traveled the United States and the world.
Phyllis’ life was a life well-lived. In addition to her positive influence on her family, she touched many lives through her years as a school and Sunday school teacher, many friends, and through her children, Lisa, an elementary school principal, Brian, a retired teacher and coach, and Dana and Wade and their friends.
Phyllis is survived by her husband, Therrell Luke of Lakeland, son Wade (Barbara) of Lakeland, son Brian (Arletta) of Garland, Texas, daughter Lisa (Beau) Brumfield of Jupiter, Florida, and daughter Dana (Alan) Brush of Lake Worth, Florida. Grandchildren include Michelle (Sam) Everett of Concord, North Carolina, Ian Steele of Reseda, California, Austin Luke of Garland, Texas, and Eva Luke of Lakeland. Great-grandchildren are Winnie and Will Everett of Concord, North Carolina.
Visitation on Monday, March 7, 2022, at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801, with services to follow at 11 a.m. Interment at Oak Hill Burial Park. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.
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