Cover photo for Phyllis Blahna's Obituary
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1931 Phyllis 2021

Phyllis Blahna

April 27, 1931 — March 22, 2021

Phyllis Mae Blahna passed away peacefully on March 22nd in her apartment at Prairie Place Assisted Living in Ripon, WI. She died of natural causes, surrounded by her children and several grandchildren. She was 89 years old.

Phyllis was a happy soul who always had a kind word for everyone she met. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, the youngest of three daughters of Phyllis and Hubert Birdsong. She attended St. Elizabeth Elementary School and Messmer High School. She loved numbers, especially balancing books, and for most of her life she worked at various accounting and bookkeeping positions at M&I and Marine National Exchange Banks. She often worked late into the night at home to be sure the banks’ books were balanced to the penny, even though the large banks allowed for small balance differences. It was a matter of principle for her, and she was also proud of the fact that she NEVER overdrew her personal bank accounts.

Phyllis met John K. Blahna, the love of her life, at M&I bank in 1951. They were married the next year, and bought a house together in Greenfield, WI in 1966 where they lived until moving to assisted living in 2016. They loved to travel to visit family and friends, visit national parks and monuments, and to attend John’s bowling and golf tournaments. This included an annual sojourn to Las Vegas, which was a special treat because while Phyllis enjoyed bowling and golfing, she loved to gamble most of all. And whenever she was asked “how’d you do?” she invariably managed to “break even.” Yes, it sounded suspicious, but given her love of numbers and balancing books, who were we to question it?

John passed away in 2018, but Phyllis has had amazing continuing support and love showered on her by her daughter, Linda Jeske, and her beautiful granddaughters Dena Jeske, Kasey Steinseifer (David), and Julie Klapper (Eric) and her great grandchildren Maddie, Maxwell, Amelia, Mason, Jackson, and Cashton. Phyllis is also survived by both her sisters Lois Herbst and Mary Cosgrove, and her sister-in-law Marilynn Gawel-Blahna who all live in the Milwaukee area, her son Dale and his wife Mary Jo who live in Seattle, and her grandson Matthew and his wife Suzanna and their children Lincoln and Mackenzie Blahna who are also all living in Seattle. She is also survived by granddaughter Allison Blahna and her partner Matt Lyon, of Melbourne, Australia. Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband John and her son-in-law, Scott Jeske.

The family would like to thank the staff at Prairie Place Assisted Living, SSM Green Lake Hospice, and longtime family friends and neighbors, Kurt and Jenny Koeff, who provided invaluable help so they were able to stay in their beloved house in Greenfield as long as their health allowed. There is a special place in heaven for all of you!

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