Phyllis grew up in South Bend, Indiana. Her parents – (John and Mary Burger) - were school teachers and in her teens, the parents purchased and operated a rustic summer resort on Big Star Lake near Baldwin, MI. Her future husband, Ken Farst, was one of the teenagers whose family vacationed at the resort during that time. They married in 1956 and during their 64 years together enjoyed both immediate and extended family activities, pets, gardening, boating, watching football, and traveling. Phyllis was also an avid swimmer, loved to read, and up until the ALS, was blessed with an abundance of energy.
After graduating from high school, Phyllis attended Stephans College (Missouri), Indiana University, and The Ohio State University where she earned a Bachelors in Education. Being an enthusiastic life-long learner, Phyllis pursued continuing education throughout her long teaching career at Walters State and East Tennessee State Universities.
Phyllis had a gift and a passion for teaching young children. Before moving to Johnson City with her family in 1970, she taught kindergarten in Galion, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia. In Johnson City she served as Director and teacher at Munsey Memorial United Methodist preschool for 15 years followed by 17 years teaching kindergarten at St Mary’s Catholic School. After retirement, she continued to be a substitute preschool teacher at First Christian Church and she was also a frequent volunteer reader for young children at the Johnson City Public Library.
During the 50 years Phyllis lived in Johnson City, she was an active member in many capacities at Our Saviour Lutheran Church. In 1984 she was selected to join The Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Professional female educators. Phyllis was also a long time and active member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) AQ Chapter in which she served as President from 2006-2008. Always willing to help others with a kind, understanding, and loyal heart, Phyllis developed many cherished and lasting friendships wherever she worked or volunteered.
Phyllis is survived by her husband, Kenneth E. Farst; one son, Douglas Farst (Anne); one daughter, Deborah Farst; five grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Prior to being diagnosed with ALS, Phyllis donated her remains to the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine. She was compelled to do so because both of her children pursued medical careers in which they educationally benefited from this type of gift.
At this time no Memorial Service has been scheduled. The family asks that for those who wish to honor and celebrate her life to please consider sending a memorial gift to Our Saviour Lutheran Church (212 Sunset Drive Johnson City, TN 37601) and/or The ALS Association/TN Chapter (P.O. Box 40244 Nashville, TN 37204 or (www.alstn.org).