Phyllis Jean & Thomas Lewis Pilcher
April 19, 1929 - May 4, 2017
Phyllis Jean Pilcher
April 19, 1929 - May 4, 2017
Thomas Lewis Pilcher
September 11, 1927 - May 7, 2017
Phyllis Pilcher, 88, passed away May 4, 2017, after a brief illness. She was joined by her husband of 66 years, Thomas Pilcher, 89 on May 7, 2017.
Phyllis was born on April 19, 1929 in Silverton, OR to Daniel & Linda Leisy Steffen. She was the 5th of 7 children. She grew up on the family farm in the Central Howell area near Silverton. She attended school in Central Howell and graduated from what is now known as North Salem High School.
Tom was born September 1 1, 1927 on the family farm in Antlers, OK to Thomas H. and Hattie Ellis Pilcher. He was the 8th of 9 children. When he was eight, his family moved to Marion, OR and continued to farm there. A few years later the family moved to the farm north of Jefferson, OR, where he lived as a teenager. He attended school in Jefferson, where he played football, basketball, track and baseball. After graduation from high school, he joined the army in 1946 and served in the Japan Occupation.
Tom and Phyllis met at a dance in Aumsville and were married in 1950. Shortly after their marriage, he was called back to army active duty and was sent to Korea. After his second discharge, he and Phyllis purchased the Jefferson farm from his parents and continued to live and farm there until their passing.
Phyllis' family was very important to her. She was a farm wife extraordinaire who sewed, cooked hearty meals, canned, worked in the fields and supported the children in every way. She enjoyed gardening and always had a beautiful yard full of flowers. She taught herself to play the piano and organ and was able to play by ear, as well as read music. She also enjoyed painting, drawing and flower arranging. She was active in the fraternal Order of the Eastern Star, Oregon Women for Agriculture, served on the Marion County Fair board and was a 4-H club leader.
Tom farmed for 40 years raising peppermint, grass seed, wheat, sweet corn, beans, sugar beet seed and strawberries. Horses and mules were a favorite hobby. They were used during annual elk hunting trips to the Wallowa Mountains with his brothers and nephews. He was active and held offices in the Masons, Eastern Star, Jefferson Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jefferson Fire Board, Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Sidney Irrigation Coop.
After retirement, Tom and Phyllis became snowbirds for a few years, traveling in their 5th wheel trailer to Desert Hot Springs and Arizona. They also enjoyed trips throughout the United States and to several foreign countries. Tom's main hobby became actively managing his tract of timber, including doing some of his own logging and replanting young trees. He served as a director of the Small Woodlands Association. They were active in the Jefferson Methodist Church, where Phyllis played the organ.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Donald Steffen & Ralph Steffen, sisters Rita Sparks and Joyce Dickensen. She is survived by her brothers
Wayne Doryce Steffen of Central Howell and Stanley Ruth Steffen of Central Howell.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents and brothers J.R. Pilcher and Claude Pilcher, sisters Eula Mae Pilcher, Beatrice Lewis, Irene Rose, Mattie Lou McGill. He is survived by brother Eugene Shirley Pilcher of Scio and sister Blanche Davis of Salem.
Tom and Phyllis are additionally survived by their daughter Gwen Steve Gilchrist of
Salem and sons Tom D. Susan Pilcher of Salem and Wesley Michelle Pilcher of Jefferson; granddaughters Katelin David Decker and Elizabeth Pilcher; many nieces and nephews.
There will be a viewing on Tuesday, May 16 from 3:00 to 7:00 at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, 605 Commercial St. SE in Salem.
A graveside service with military honors will be held at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, May 17 at the Jefferson Cemetery. It will be followed by a memorial service at 2:00 pm, at the Jefferson Baptist Church, 15002 Jefferson Hwy. 99E SE. A reception will follow at the church.
Memorial donations may be made to the Jefferson United Methodist Church PO Box 76, Jefferson, OR 97352 or the Alzheimer's Association www.alz.org.