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Phyllis Antoinette Bigby

September 20, 1935 March 28, 2019
Phyllis Antoinette Bigby
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Obituary for Phyllis Antoinette Bigby

Phyllis Antoinette Bigby was born on September 20, 1935, in Marshall, TX, to Audra and Alta Hicks Bigby. She departed this earth on March 28, 2019, in Fischer, Texas, at the age of 83 to join family and friends who preceded her in death.
Phyllis’s early years were spent in Marshall. After high school she earned a Bachelor of Science at Stephen F. Austin State University and later a Master’s degree in Physical Education at Indiana University.
Phyllis taught and coached in multiple locations before joining the Physical Education Department at SWTSU (now Texas State) in 1967. She was instrumental in establishing the Recreational Department at SWTSU and worked there until 1982. Phyllis attended 6 Olympics and travelled around the globe.
During the time Phyllis was working at Southwest Texas State, she and Judy Rinker, a co-teacher/coach and housemate, started Harambe Ventures, a business through which they organized and guided canoe trips in the Quetico Country in Minnesota and Canada. Shortly before retiring from Southwest Texas State, Phyllis and Judy purchased a recreational ranch in the Texas hill country and Harambe Ventures evolved into Harambe Oaks, a youth summer camp, conference center, and guest ranch. Harambe Oaks also hosted Elder Hostel groups, company picnics and reunions. Phyllis and Judy owned and operated Harambe Oaks for 26 years (1979-2006). After selling Harambe Oaks, Phyllis and Judy moved into a property deemed “The Mansion” which they had purchased in nearby Fischer, TX.
Retirement at the Mansion found Phyllis involved in the Fischer Community social life and the North Shore United Methodist Church. She enjoyed travelling in her motorhome and co-hosting an Annual Games Party (Cead Mile Failte) at the Mansion as well as annual picnics and open houses. Life at the Mansion was never dull. Outside the Mansion, Phyllis liked to go to plays, musical presentations, and festivals in the area. Following in her father’s footsteps, Phyllis became an avid beekeeper and helped other people in the area learn how to keep bees. She kept a vegetable garden and had chickens, happily sharing fresh produce and eggs with others. Phyllis fully enjoyed life and made life enjoyable for others wherever she went! She was a friend for life.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, Audra and Alta Bigby, and by her older sister, Sylvia Bigby Major-Krusekopf. She leaves behind her sisters Annelle Covington and Romelle Parker and husband Jimmy; six nieces and nephews who adored her – Phillip Major and wife Lisa, Cindy Major, Laura Major Triggs and husband Casey, Barrett Covington and wife Candy, Michael J. Parker and wife Denise, and Paul Parker and wife Angela along with nine great nieces and nephews; and Judy Rinker, her longtime friend, housemate and business partner.
Heartfelt thanks go out to Terry Lancaster, who served as Phyllis’s caregiver this past year. The family also thanks the doctors and staff at CTMC, Kindred Hospice, Dr. K. Deschner and staff and Dr. Quing Ren and staff for their medical care and support.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at the North Shore United Methodist Church, 23880 N. Cranes Mill Road, Canyon Lake, Texas on April 13, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.
Interment will be at Mount Zion Cemetery in Doddridge, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the North Shore UMC Building Fund or a charity of your choice.

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Previous Events

Celebration of Life




2:00 PM 4/13/2019 2:00:00 PM - 3:00 PM 4/13/2019 3:00:00 PM
North Shore United Methodist Church

23880 N. Cranes Mill Road
Canyon Lake, TX 78133

North Shore United Methodist Church
23880 N. Cranes Mill Road Canyon Lake 78133 TX
United States

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