At the age of 90, on February 11th, 2020 Phyllis went home to Heaven. She was born Phyllis Arline Dyrud on January 3rd, 1930, to Adolf and Emily (Carlson) Dyrud, in Conrad Montana. At the time of Phyllis’ birth, the family lived 20 miles out of town in the Sollid Community. Her mother was brought into town in a covered horse drawn sled to have baby Phyllis. At the age of six she and the family moved into Conrad, living in a rented house until they purchased a passenger car from the railroad and remodeled it into a home, adding several rooms. Phyllis attended school in Conrad, graduating from High School in 1948. She attended St. Olaf College, in Northfield Minnesota, for one year. When she returned to Montana, she attended Eastern Montana College in Billings, receiving a diploma in Elementary Education in 1950. On September 3rd, 1950 she married William B. Branstetter, they shared their life together for 60 years. They made their home on the Branstetter Farm northeast of Laurel where they raised their family. The farm has been in the Branstetter family since 1912. After William's passing in 2011, she moved to Laurel.
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Phyllis was active as a Girl Scouts leader. She taught private Kindergarten in Laurel for many years. She also worked as tax preparer at H&R Block. Phyllis was an active member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Laurel for 70 years, where she served as organist, was a member of WELCA, enjoyed many church activities and making lefse for the annual Church Bazaar. She enjoyed visiting with all of her Church Friends and was often the last one to leave the Church.
Bill and Phyllis found enjoyment in traveling together. Some of their destinations included, Yellowstone Park, Branson Missouri, Edmonton Alberta, Seattle Washington, and visiting their Children. She also enjoyed gardening and raising flowers. One of Phyllis’ great joys was roasting marshmallows under the willow tree on the Farm with her Grandchildren. She will be dearly missed by her friends and family.
Phyllis is survived by Brothers James Dyrud and Charles Dyrud; Sister -in-law Mary Dyrud; Her children: Janice Diane (Neil) Andersen, Gregory Clay (Alice) Branstetter, and Doreen Ann (John) Gates. Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren: Shawn Andersen; Jolene (Vince) Smidl, (Hayden, Jorgia, and Hailey); Luke (Samantha) Andersen, (Morgan); Josh (Jackie) Branstetter, (Alexander and Gabriella); Jill (Ben) Claypool, (Clara and Lilah); Jamie Branstetter, (Mason, Mallory and Max); Emily Gates (fiancé Lincoln Gulley). Numerous Nieces and Nephews.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents Adolf and Emily; Brothers, Milan Dyrud and Lester Dyrud; Sisters, Eunice Dyrud, Lois Dyrud, Elsie Dyrud, Marion (Rueben) Peterson, and Evelyn (Neil) Morck; Grandson Travis Gates; Great-granddaughter Brynn Smidl (infant) and Husband William B. Branstetter.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the staff of Saint John’s United, The Crossings in Laurel, and the staff of Richardson Cottage and Hospice, for the care they provided for Phyllis over the past few years.
Memorials may be sent to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Laurel or the Richardson Cottage at The Crossings in Laurel.
Memorial services will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Laurel, MT on February 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM. Condolences for the family may be shared at smithfuneralchapels.com.