Phyllis, the youngest child of Mark and Jessie (Fraser) Edwards, was born in Eden Manitoba, a sister for brothers Wilbert, Jack and Ross. In the 1930’s, the family moved to the Blue Fox District, southwest of Choiceland, where they farmed and had many close and lasting friendships with their neighbours. As Blue Fox school could not offer Grade 12, Phyllis lived with her Aunt Edith and Uncle John Edwards to complete her high school education and then worked as a bank teller in Nipawin. She married Ralph Townsend on October 11, 1946, and they started their farm home a stone’s throw away from the Mossey Glen School. During the winter months the couple worked for Phyllis’ dad at various sawmills, until a fire destroyed their last mill at Montreal Lake in 1959. By this time, the family also included children, Marilyn and Murray, and adding home school teaching to Phyllis’ role as camp cook, camp nurse and book keeper was more than even her boundless energy could perform.
Phyllis was a very active farm wife and gardener and participated in the Mossey Glen community ladies club, played ball in the summer, and later began curling in Choiceland. In her spare time in the winter months, Phyllis knit many sweaters and socks, it often seemed that she unravelled more than she knit, but always finished her beautiful projects which are now keepsakes for her family. Phyllis said she learned to sew from a homemaker’s club in Blue Fox when she was a young teenager, and she was very skilled at it, sewing Marilyn’s graduation and wedding dresses, quilts and doll clothes for her grand daughters. One of her final creative interests was building bird houses in her garage, using a table saw that Murray gave her and not losing any fingers, which she was very proud of.
Phyllis worked as a store clerk at Winston Grocers in the 1970’s and she and Ralph moved from their farm to their new home in Choiceland in 1981, providing many school lunches and suppers for their grand daughters, Kara and Darcie. Phyllis was a great cook, volunteering in the community hall kitchens for countless events, and her hospitality at home always included a great meal on the table. They loved to camp and fish in the northern lakes, visit Murray at his Clearwater Lake home, or spend time at his cabin “over west”, often taking their grand daughters along, and bringing home their limit of fish and wonderful memories.
After Ralph’s passing in 1992, Phyllis opened her home to student teachers and became a pet owner once again to her 2 small dogs, first Abbey and then Kayli, she was often seen walking them for many blocks around town. She enjoyed morning coffee breaks at the round table with her friends at the restaurant, often providing humour with her quick wit and one- liners. Phyllis loved her home and remained there until November 2016, when she moved to Pineview Lodge Nursing Home in Nipawin.
She was predeceased by her parents, husband, Ralph, Murray’s fiancé, Lydia, her brothers and their wives, and Ralph’s parents, siblings and their spouses, being the last member of that era of the Edwards and Townsend families.
She is survived and celebrated by her son Murray (Norma), daughter Marilyn (Jacques) granddaughters Kara (Kevin) Rein and Darcie King, and five great grandchildren, Braden, Lindsey, Jenna, Emma and Kenzi.