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Philis E. Parker Hanchett Heldstab, 81

| November 22, 2020 12:00 AM

Philis E. Parker Hanchett Heldstab of Columbia Falls passed away on Nov.17, 2020. She was 81 years old.

Philis was born on Feb.18, 1939, in Duluth, Minnesota, to Ira and Anna (Mattson) Parker. After her mother died during childbirth when Philis was 4, she lived in several foster homes until Russell and Gladys Hanchett adopted her. Philis was the ninth of 11 siblings. She attended grade school in West Duluth, three years of high school in Proctor, Minnesota, and then moved to Babbitt, Minnesota, where she graduated from school in Ely, Minnesota, in 1957. She then attended Ely Junior College for two years, before transferring to Bemidji State University.

She met and married Dale Heldstab while attending college. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1962, and was hired to teach school in Upsala, Minnesota. She taught for two years in Upsala. She and Dale had three children, Dawn, Cheryl, and Mark. Philis was a stay-at-home mother while Dale was in the Air Force. Philis and Dale moved to Houghton, Michigan, in 1977 where Dale taught at Michigan Technology University. She decided to obtain a second degree in forestry and landscape management at the university. She graduated in 1980 and was recognized as the top graduate in her class.

They moved to Denver where Dale worked until 1991. Philis became quite proficient in golf while in Denver and also started to collect woodworking tools and became an accomplished cabinet maker. Philis and Dale moved to a retirement home in Columbia Falls in 1991. She enjoyed cabinet making, golf, hunting and fishing for many years. Her master project at the Columbia Falls home was her design, cabinet making installation of a new kitchen.

In 2004, Philis and Dale purchased a home in Gilbert, Arizona, and started spending winters in Arizona and summers in Montana. While Philis was in Gilbert, she began to work with stained glass, and soon became recognized for the original nature of her work and the quality of each piece of art that she produced. She became a mentor for many of the members of the Trilogy Stained Glass Club and was always available to assist those who needed guidance and help with their stained glass projects.

Philis is survived by her husband, Dale; children, Dawn Needles of Missoula, Cheryl (Christopher) Smith of Denver, and son Mark (Celeste) Heldstab of West Monroe, Louisiana; six grandsons, one granddaughter, and six great-grandchildren; one sibling, James (Susanna) Parker of Woodruff, Wisconsin from her original family. She was preceded in death by Ira and Anna Parker, Russell and Gladys Hanchett, and nine of her siblings.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. at Saint Richard Catholic Church in Columbia Falls. Cremation will take place after services and urn burial will be at a later date.

Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls is caring for Philis’s family.