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Phyllis Ann Borleske

January 29, 1943 February 22, 2012
Phyllis Ann Borleske
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Obituary for Phyllis Ann Borleske

Phyllis Ann Borleske, wife of the Reverend Philip A. Borleske of Vinton, Iowa, died Ash Wednesday morning, February 22, 2012, at Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab Center in Vinton following an extended illness.     She was born January 29, 1943, in Hampton, Iowa, to J. Maurice and Hilda Christensen Akers and was united in marriage to Phil Borleske in Dows, Iowa, on August 9, 1964.     She is survived by her husband, Phil, of Vinton, IA; son Stephen of Onalaska, WI; daughter Renee Hepperlen, husband Michael and children Thomas and Anna Marie of Minnetonka, MN; son John, wife Amanda and children Sorina and Malaina of Verona, WI; her mother, Hilda Akers, of Dows, IA; sisters Joyce (Mike) Davis of De Soto, WI; Linda (Curtis) Dow of Dows, IA; and Janet (Al) Van Overmeer of Sioux Falls, SD; brother John (Ann) Akers of Matthews, NC; sister-in-law Judy Kebbekus of Everett, WA; brother-in-law Mark Borleske of Seattle, WA; aunts Ilene Christensen of Charles City, IA; Marie Gaard of Urbandale, IA; and Ethel Spencer of Vacaville, CA; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and their spouses.     She was preceded in death by her father, J. Maurice Akers; grandson John Christian Hepperlen; niece Heidi Sue Kebbekus; her grandparents; and other uncles, aunts and family members.     Phyllis graduated from Dows High School in 1960 and Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, in 1964.  She taught English and speech in Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota high schools; became the first director of WAFER, an ecumenical food pantry in La Crosse, WI; was coordinator of the Congregate (Senior) Meal site in Mt. Pleasant, IA; and served as office manager at the Swedish American Museum in Swedesburg, IA.  She was active in the congregations served by her husband in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa and represented the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s World Hunger program.  She enjoyed reading, cross-stitch, knitting, sewing, gardening, cooking and baking.  After she and her husband retired to Vinton in 2007, she volunteered with Mercy Hospice of Cedar Rapids, became a Master Gardener and joined the Vinton Garden Club and Cottage Garden Society, participated in several local book clubs, and, with her husband, volunteered at Vinton’s Palace Theatre.  She and Phil were long-time volunteers at Midwest Old Threshers’ events in Mt. Pleasant, IA, and volunteered in post-Katrina hurricane Gulf Coast recovery efforts through Lutheran Disaster Response.  They traveled extensively.   Visitation will be held at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home in Vinton, IA, on Friday, February 24, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The service of burial will be held at First Lutheran Church in Dows, IA, on Saturday, February 25, at 11:00 a.m., where Rev. Mark C. Urlaub of Vinton will officiate.  Viewing will be held one hour before the service in Dows.  Burial will be in Otis Grove Cemetery in Dows.             Memorial contributions may be made to Bethel Lutheran Church or WAFER, La Crosse, WI; the Swedesburg Evangelical Lutheran Church or the Swedish American Museum, Swedesburg, IA; Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Vinton; First Lutheran Church, Dows, IA; or ELCA World Hunger.


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