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Helen Marie Phillips was a vibrant, energetic and outgoing woman who was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on August 17, 1936 and passed peacefully with family near her side on October 2, 2022 at the age of 86.
Helen was the second of five children born to Theresa and Elias DeGroat. After completing high school in Saginaw, she attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Dental Hygiene in 1958. With a yearning to explore, Helen then moved “out west” to Sacramento, California to pursue life’s adventures and her dental hygiene career. One of her early patients was a young Air Force Captain named James Phillips. They were smitten with each other, and after a brief courtship, were married a year later on June 10, 1960.
They lived in Sacramento for over 30 years, raised two wonderful sons together, and made the most of life while raising a family. In particular, Helen was fond of skiing, especially at Heavenly Valley. She enjoyed her “ladies day” of riding the bus to skiing with her friends and the beautiful views of Lake Tahoe.
Eventually, Helen and Jim retired to St. George, UT, where they would spend the remaining 27 years of their lives together. In retirement, Helen would still ski occasionally and loved to play tennis and golf. She was active in her church, enjoyed gardening and her roses, and was intrigued by UFO’s and the mysteries they hold. Helen and Jim traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, and shared a lifetime of wonderful memories together.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband Jim, who passed away September 6, 2021, and we know has waited patiently for Helen to re-join him. She is also preceded in death by brothers Art and Jerry and her sister Mary. She is survived by her sons James (Olga) and John (Andrea), grandchildren Daniel, Sophia, Robin, Hannah and Emme. She is also survived by her younger brother Ed, as well as nieces and nephews. Helen was a unique soul and will be missed by her family, friends, caregivers and most every life she touched.
The family wishes to extend many thanks to the entire staff at Ovation Assisted Living and Suzanne Rayburn from Advanced Health Care and Hospice for their compassionate care. Consistent with Helen’s wishes, the family will hold a private service at a later date and her ashes will be interred, along with her husband Jim’s, at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, NV.
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