Phyllis Colsell Anderson
August 16, 1931–June 4, 2023
“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last,” were the words Phyllis Anderson hung in her kitchen and the words by which she lived. She was born Phyllis Doreen Colsell to Frank and Ruth (neé Walker) Colsell on August 16, 1931 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. At age 12, on October 31, 1943—a day she always referred to as a truly “hallowed” eve—she gave her heart and life to Jesus after a series of Gospel meetings in St. Catharines.
Phyl met the love of her life, Clayton (Bud) Edward Anderson, at Berea Bible Camp in New Hampshire, and following a tumultuous courtship (a story she loved to tell!), they married the day after her 26 th birthday. Together they raised three children, Jan, John, and Jeffrey. Phyllis tended her family with enthusiasm and joy. The city girl learned to love the hard work of country living. She and Bud eventually earned the honorary titles of “City Bumpkin” and “Country Slicker” from their dear neighbors, the Lendrums. In the springtime, she could be found with baby goats in her kitchen, and she often blessed those she loved with delectable homemade food, including bread, strawberry whipped cream pies, pickles, preserves, and goat’s cheese. Phyl opened her home to strangers and friends alike, sharing her time, resources, and care with open hands.
Yet, the sweetest treasure she loved to share was her Lord Jesus. No matter whom she was speaking with, her conversation always seemed to trail back to Jesus. Her trust in His unfailing goodness to her allowed her to thrive on change, including changes for the worse. She thanked God even for cancer, which she survived four times.
Phyllis worked tirelessly with various ministries throughout her life. She taught Sunday School and Bible Club to elementary school children, led and participated in numerous women’s Bible study groups, and even began leading her chapel’s missionary support group at age 86. As a child, she yearned to be a missionary, and after Bud retired in the early 1990s, she finally got her wish when she and Bud brought the gospel and Bibles to Russia, which was only recently freed from the Iron Curtain.
Phyl and Bud made their home in many parts of the world, including Hagen, France; Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England; Rotterdam and Berne, New York; Winter Bay, Prince Edward Island; Yaroslavl, Russia; Boise, Idaho; and Boca Raton, Florida, and in each place, Phyl gathered friends. What is more, she kept in contact with these many friends via email, text, Facebook, Facetime, Snapchat, snail mail, and, of course, her beloved cell phone. The wonder of her farm living is that she didn’t raise carrier pigeons, as well. Her family teased her for checking her laptop in the middle of the night to see how friends in Russia were doing, and when she discovered that her fingerprints were worn away, we said it was from excessive emailing. (She, more accurately, claimed it gave testament to a life of hard work.)
Phyllis had a terrible memory, at least for the wrongs done to her; she didn’t hold grudges. Yet, her memory for the least little kindness or goodness done to her was impeccable. She doggedly saw the best in everyone and cared for anyone in need with tenderness and compassion. She was the first to sing others’ praise, but the last to, as she would say, “toot her own horn.” Phyllis made everyone feel like they were her favorite person—and in some strange way, they were.
Her love for life and people was only superseded by her love for her Savior. On Sunday, June 4, 2023, Phyllis passed away in her sleep, as she’d hoped. “The doctor told me my heart could stop at any moment. So, every night when I go to sleep, I think, Maybe tonight I’ll wake up with Jesus!” During her three months in hospice, she repeatedly shared this sentiment, with joyous anticipation sparkling in her eyes—eyes which have now seen her Jesus face to face.
Phyllis is survived by her children, Jan Anderson, John Anderson (Catherine); and Jeffrey Anderson (Darcy); her grandchildren, Francine Toupin (Maxime Hémond), Zoë Toupin (Eric Barreto), Samuel Anderson (Chantel), Olivia Campbell (Joshua), Hannah Anderson, Noah Anderson, and Lucy Anderson; and her great-grandchildren, Chloé, Alice, and William Hémond. She is also survived by her brothers-in-law, Ed Pollitt and Ron Loescher, and by her nieces and nephews, Esther Fiorini (Thom); Peter Loescher (Connie); Ruthie Ireland (Michael); Tim Loescher (Christa); David Pollitt (Yenni); and Chris Pollitt (Michelle Houle).
Her beloved husband, Bud; her niece, Sharon Pollitt; her younger sister, Eleanor Pollitt (neé Colsell); and her sister-in-law, Nancy Loescher (neé Anderson), passed into glory before her.