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November 4, 1932 - May 20, 2022
Church Seventh Day Adventist Church
Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, June 7th at 10:00 a.m., at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rapid City. Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery with military honors.
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Phyllis Louise Alexander was born to August and Birdie Hirsch in Tomahawk, Wisconsin on November 4, 1932. She was the oldest of four children. Her parents had a foster home and took care of over 78 children over 40 years with Phyllis always being the oldest.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband, Clayton Alexander, on November 11, 1991, her parents, her sister, Jane Randolph, brother, Arden (Jim) Hirsch, and one nephew.
Phyllis is survived by her two children Kathy (Bill) Dachtler, in Sturgis, SD, and Lawrence Alexander in Omaha, NE, brother Russell Hirsch in Denver, CO. She has 6 grandsons. 4 granddaughters, 4 great grandsons, 4 great granddaughters and 1 great great grandchild.
She lived in Tomahawk, WI until she left in 1949 to attend a private boarding school, Bethel Academy in southern Wisconsin. She graduated from the Wisconsin Academy boarding school in 1950 at Columbus, WI. After graduation she worked at the local hospital in Tomahawk until she left in 1953 or Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital to obtain her nursing degree and graduated in 1957 with an RN degree.
In 1958, Phyllis joined the USAF with the rank of Lieutenant. There she met her husband and was married in 1959 in Great Falls, MT. She was discharged in 1960 at the end of her tour of duty. At that time both husband and wife could not both be in the military at the same time. Her Husband had two tours of duty overseas and she remained home with the children. They spent time at Great Falls, MT, Westover AFB in MA, Minot AFB, ND, and then Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City in 1974. Clayton retired in 1976 and they made their home in Rapid City, SD. Phyllis worked at Rapid City Regional Hospital from 1975 until 1993 when she retired as a nurse due to health reasons. She is a person that has to be busy and with people so she returned back to Regional Hospital to work in the medical records department for 17 years. She worked until 2017.
While working in medical records, Phyllis began working with the Adventist Community Service and Adventist Disaster Response. She took many classes attending the FEMA Emergency Management Institute in Emmetsburg, MD. She attended any and all the classes in service of Adventist Community Service and Disaster Response. Their specialty is in Donation Management and Warehousing. She began teaching in all areas of her expertise. This involves working with Local, State, FEMA and all organizations that involve VOAD (Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster). She was the SD president for VOAD for 4 years. She was a volunteer for the local Red Cross for several years and on their Executive Committee for 4 years.
While still working, Phyllis returned back to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rapid City in 1993. She has been active in many areas of service in her church and also is not afraid to tell others about her Friend and Guide, Jesus Christ. She was able to go on a 30 day mission trip to the Ukraine that made her realize how wonderful our country is in the freedom that we have.
Due to many health issues Phyllis retired and moved to a small apartment in 2017. She was confined to a wheelchair so could not be “on sight” but her assistant, Bob Forbes, Lehr, ND worked with her via phone several times a day during a disaster. This was the saddest time not being able to be where the action was. She still remained Director for Adventist Disaster Response for SD and ND and remained in touch FEMA information, all the conference calls for VOAD and state emergency disasters. She was still involved with the disaster calls every month that involved reports, what was being done, and what the long term help to those in a disaster area. The SD VOAD calls usually involved 15-20 different volunteer religious agencies that gave reports and the long term plans.
From Phyllis: I want to thank everyone that I have come in contact with that has been an encouragement in my work regardless of where I was. My church family has been a special people that I have cherished these years. My people at Regional Hospital that have touched my life, I leave a special “thank you” for just being you. As you know my main thing is to show others what a wonderful Friend I have in Jesus Christ. My thoughts and prayers are that everyone will someday find my special Friend and he will give you the way to his kingdom. LOVE TO ALL OF YOU. PHYLLIS