Phyllis Wiita, 90, died October 31, 2021 at the Care and Rehab in Cumberland, WI. She was born the eldest daughter of Harry & Helen (Housky) Grossman in Passaic, New Jersey. She was raised in New Jersey and graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1948 where she had served as a majorette for the band. Phyllis continued her education by attending the University of Wisconsin on a full scholarship and graduated with a degree in art. She later received a MFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Phyllis taught art for the Park Falls Schools for many years.
On December 27, 1952 she married Clifford Wiita in Nutley, New Jersey. They were married 64 years. The couple raised their two sons, Clifford Jr. (Kip) and Philip in Horicon, Wisconsin, Antigo, Wisconsin, and finally on Butternut Lake in Park Falls. In recent years Phyllis moved to Cumberland, Wisconsin to be closer to Kip and his family.
Phyllis was passionate about teaching, wildlife, art, gardening, cooking, and travel. She used her many talents to paint, draw, and sew things for her home and those she loved. She had a gorgeous well attended green house and garden that brought her great joy. Her cooking skills were legendary. After retirement she and Cliff traveled extensively, visiting every continent. She was thrilled to see wildlife in different parts of the world. Phyllis was a voracious reader, with a strong work ethic, generous but exacting. Phyllis was a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls for many years. One focus of her life was helping others. While a member of Peace Lutheran, she made over 300 quilts and knitted hundreds of sweaters for mission work. She organized and helped paint a huge mural that decorates a wall at Peace Lutheran. In her later years she tied and donated fleece blankets for cancer patients at Cumberland and Eau Claire hospitals. She continued to worship with Pastor Byron of St. Croix Hospice. Her generous, caring personality led her to establish the Wiita Family Scholarship after Cliff's death in 2017. This scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving student pursing either a degree in teaching, wildlife biology, or a related field. Since starting the scholarship she has given thousands of dollars to several young adults.
Phyllis' greatest love was for her family. She cherished her time with Cliff and their sons; daughter-in-law: Vicki, grandchildren; Sarah Wiita, Eric (Rachel) Wiita. Phyllis doted on her three great-grandchildren; Harriet, Nathaniel, and Benjamin. She made her family splendid meals, gave them art lessons, and told many entertaining stories. With them she shared her political insights and religious convictions.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband: Cliff, son: Philip, parents; Helen & Harry Grossman, in-laws; Violet & Eino Wiita, two nephews; Bob Wiita and David Reiber.
Phyllis is survived by her son Kip (Vicki) of Cumberland, grandchildren; Sarah Wiita, Eau Claire, Eric (Rachel) Wiita, Frederic, great-grandchildren; Harriet, Nathaniel, Benjamin, all of Frederic. She is further survived by her sisters; Barbara (William) Reiber, Nancy Grossman, nieces; Peggy Reiber, Wendy Moss, Elizabeth Macerowski, and their families, all of New Jersey, brother-in-law: John (Donna) Wiita, Iron Belt, WI, and niece: Lori (Eric Estabrook) Wiita and their children.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Augustana Lutheran Church in Cumberland, Wisconsin at 11:00 am on Friday, November 12, 2021 with Pastor Shane Anderson officiating. A private family burial will follow at a later date.
Memorials preferred to Wiita Family Scholarship Fund at the Cumberland Federal Bank, 1390 2nd Avenue, Cumberland, Wisconsin 54829. Phyllis’ family is grateful beyond words for the dignified, heartfelt care in her last years by the staff at the Cumberland Care and Rehab Facility and the people of St. Croix Hospice. To sign an online guestbook and view a video tribute visit www.williamsonwhite.com . Arrangements were made with Williamson-White Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Amery.