Phyllis Stefani passed away Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in the presence of her adoring sons. In celebration of her life, a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Noelridge Christian Church, 7111 C Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids. A visitation will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Cedar Memorial, where friends and family can visit with Phyllis' family and share memories.
Phyllis was born in Storm Lake, Iowa, in 1931, to Nancy Elizabeth and Howard Oak Wassom. During her growing years on a farm outside of Laurens, Phyllis was adored not only by her parents but her six brothers. Phyllis graduated from Laurens High School and was valedictorian of her class. She then attended the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where she studied education. At the University of Iowa, her brother, AJ Wassom, introduced Phyllis to her husband, Raymond Stefani Sr. Although she initially pretended not to be so interested in him, Raymond won her heart and they were married in May 1953, while Raymond attended Drake University Law School. After Raymond's graduation, he and Phyllis moved to Cedar Rapids, where they raised their family of four sons.
Phyllis' chosen vocation was divided into many sections, much of was devoted to her family. She was a Mother, special homemaker, phenomenal cook and baker, made traditional American farm foods, desserts, and Italian dishes to the delight of her family and friends. Her fun-loving personality, adoring love of her husband and family, faith in God and his Son, Jesus Christ, and social participation in many activities, groups and organizations made Phyllis popular among many who met and knew her. She had a consistent and devoted dedication to stay connected with all of her extended family, which endeared her to all of her relatives.
Phyllis joined First Christian Church in Cedar Rapids and belonged to this community for many years, participating and leading in many faith-filled activities of FCC, such as board membership, teaching Sunday school and representing the church on a national level as a member of the board of the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Eventually, she and Ray Sr. decided to move to Noelridge Christian Church, where she remained a participating member until her passing to be with her Lord and Savior.
Phyllis was a member of the Linn County Bar Association's Linn Law Wives, PEO, as well as participating in bridge club groups. She was a dedicated "Den Mother" in Cub Scouts for each of her sons and participated as a member and leader in the Garfield PTA Association. In later years, Phyllis, with her good friends, Ruth Rothrock and Russ Kaufman, visited those who were housebound with a song and entertaining show, bringing happiness and enjoyment to those people. In addition to great support of her sons, Phyllis enjoyed traveling with Ray Sr., supporting him in many of his law profession activities and organizations as well as visiting Ray's extended family in Italy. And, of special note, Phyllis' grandchildren and great-grandchildren could always depend on getting chocolate chip cookies at Nanni's house even before lunch or dinner.
Phyllis is survived by her four sons, Raymond II (Kathy), Richard (Diane), Randall (Cindy) and Steven (Jennifer); and grandchildren, Matthew (Fallon) Stefani, Dr. AJ (Michael Volenec) Stefani, Stacey (Taylor) McGurk, Robert (Marissa) Stefani, Kelly (Nathanial) Thompson, Challee Stefani, Ryan Stefani, Kelsey Stefani, Brett Stefani, Skylar Stefani and Trevor Stefani; and great-grandchildren, Sieanna Stefani, Gianna Stefani, Malachi Johnson, Carmela Johnson, Nehemiah Thompson, James McGurk, and Sloan and Sydney Stefani. She is also survived by two brothers, Glenn Wassom, Des Moines, and Scott (Nan) Wassom of Arkansas.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brothers, Harold Wassom, Clyde Wassom, AJ Wassom and Richard Wassom; and many great Stefani/Wassom family members.
We wish to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to the staff at Hallmar, Hospice of Mercy and Keystone for the excellent and benevolent care given to our Mom. We will miss our precious Mother very much. Her wit, wisdom, advice, support, cooking, Motherly "always got your back" support, and Love are irreplaceable! Yet, we are comforted knowing that she will be with our Dad and Jesus Christ.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Noelridge Christian Church or Mercy Medical Center Foundation. Please leave a message or tribute to the Stefani family on the website, www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries.