Phyllis Anne Stender, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away peacefully from pancreatic cancer on April 1st, 2022, surrounded in her last hours by her family.
Born September 5, 1945, in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, as Phyllis Deibler, she and her brother Robert Deibler Jr. spent their childhood in Norwood, Pa. Her father, Robert Deibler Sr., worked as a longshoreman on the Philadelphia Waterfront, and her mother, Mary Deibler, was a secretary for State Farm. Growing up, Phyllis was surrounded by family including many cousins that she was close with. She attended Interboro High School in Glenolden, Pa., where she was a cheerleader, graduating in 1963.
Phyllis attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., and graduated with a BA in Mathematics in 1967. She always spoke fondly of her college summers spent waitressing with friends in Lake George, New York, and Ocean City, New Jersey. She valued long-lasting, meaningful friendships, remaining close to friends from high school and college throughout her life.
After college, Phyllis moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as a mathematician at the National Security Agency from 1967 to 1969. There she met her loving husband of 52 years, Charles Frederick Stender. Phyllis was adventurous and found her perfect partner in Charlie, a Naval aviator who shared her love of travel and dedication to family. They were married on September 27, 1969, in Wilmington, Delaware. As a young married couple, Phyllis and Charlie enjoyed hiking, snorkeling, waterskiing, and snow skiing. Memorable trips included flying their own plane to Mexico and Lake Tahoe and numerous ski trips to Mammoth Mountain, California.
In 1970 Phyllis and Charlie moved to China Lake, California. Phyllis worked as a high school math teacher while Charlie flew for the Navy. In 1972 they moved to Thousand Oaks, and then on to Newbury Park, where they raised their children: Carolyn, Julie and Matthew.
Family remained her focus, and as a mother, Phyllis spent countless selfless hours providing love and support to her children. Family trips included the East Coast to visit extended family, Hawaii, Paris, June Lake, and camping in Carpinteria. She was also close to her own mother, Mary Deibler, who had moved to Camarillo, California, in 1986. When her children grew older, Phyllis returned to teaching 6th grade at Bethany Christian School, retiring in 2005.
Phyllis was heavily involved with their church, Emmanuel Presbyterian. In the 47 years she spent as a member of the church she was a Deacon, taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and volunteered with the Amigos program. As a Deacon, she was the church’s Memorial Coordinator providing love, compassion and support to numerous families in their time of need. Phyllis also loved attending her monthly book club and weekly bible study groups and was a docent at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park.
After retirement, Phyllis and Charlie continued their travel adventures, touring Europe, cruising to Alaska, and motoring their boat to the Channel Islands and up and down the Southern California Coast. But above all, “Grammy” loved spending time with her growing family. She welcomed her son-in-law, Sandeep, and daughter-in-law, Tracie, and found great joy in her four granddaughters: Sophia, Meena, Josephine and Eleanor. She took every opportunity she had to visit them in San Diego and Chicago (even in winter). As a mother and grandmother, she was the epitome of selflessness. Everything she did was viewed through the lens of supporting her family. Nothing brought Phyllis more joy than being a part of their lives and celebrating their achievements. She will be deeply missed.
A memorial service to honor Phyllis’s life takes place on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, 588 Camino Manzanas, Thousand Oaks. Lunch to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Emmanuel Presbyterian Church: Children’s Ministry, 588 Camino Manzanas, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.
Phyllis and Charlie were members of Ventura (CA) Squadron/13.