Donna Maxine Gillette Phillips slipped away peacefully, back into the arms of her awaiting family and Savior on March 12, 2020. She passed just shy of her 91st birthday, after enduring years of physical disability and dementia.
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and friend, Donna was born April 9,1929, in Victor, Idaho to Francis Cloward and Ora Woolstenhulme Gillette. The second of six children, she grew up in Teton Valley, Idaho. Raised in a musical family, she became an accomplished pianist with a beautiful singing voice. In high school, she worked for her dad as a bookkeeper at his automotive and transportation businesses. She also spent several summers driving his tour buses from Victor to Moran, Wyoming, at a time when the Teton Pass was merely a gravel road with dangerous switchbacks.
She married Boyd Earl Phillips November 7, 1952, in the Idaho Falls Temple. They both graduated from Utah State Agriculture College (USU) that spring where Donna majored in dance and minored in music. The first 20 years of their marriage was spent in the U.S. Air Force moving to a new location about every three years. During that time they had four children, each born at a different U.S. Air Force base hospital. Always active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Donna filled various church positions, sometimes many at the same time. At age 33 she was called as Stake Relief Society President of the Wichita, Kansas Stake. In addition, she had four other ward callings, raised three young children, managed the house, the yard, and the finances due to Boyd being out of the country much of the time. At age 36 in Great Falls, Montana, she fulfilled a desire for more education by going back to college and obtaining a master’s degree in music. She loved to teach--she taught piano and/or dance classes during most of her life. After retiring from the Air Force, the family moved to Bountiful, Utah, where she started the “Young Americans” dancing and singing group. She continued to teach subsequent generations of children into her late 60’s.
Donna will be missed by her loving husband, Boyd, and her children: Kevin (Leslie) Phillips, Michael (Susan) Phillips, Jacqueline Phillips, Chris (Brooke) Phillips; her sisters, Barbara (Blaine) Butler and Lynn (Dennis) Sessions; and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, older sister Renee Gillette (died age 5), younger sister Nedra (Keith) Buxton, and younger brother Jerry Gillette.
The family would like to thank Summit Home Health for their wonderful care and support. Interment will be at the Memorial Lakeview Cemetery in Bountiful, Utah, by Russon Bountiful Mortuary after a brief celebration of her life during a family graveside service. There will be no funeral due to the current, world-wide, COVID-19 health crisis.
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