Brenda Heilman Phillips, age 52, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., formerly of Howard Lake and Hutchinson, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 at her home.
She was born July 30, 1955, in Howard Lake, the daughter of Wilton and Phyllis (Jones) Birkholz.
Brenda graduated from Howard Lake High School and moved to Hutchinson, where she gained employment at 3M Company. She worked there for several years and made many loyal friendships along the way.
During this time, Brenda met her first husband, Richard B. Heilman. They were married the summer of 1982, and were blessed with two children, Lindsey and Ryan. Following seven years of marriage, Richard passed away unexpectedly.
Not long after, Brenda resumed her education by attending Ridgewater College, where she enrolled in the accounting program. Upon earning her associate’s degree, Brenda became employed with the State of Minnesota, at the Department of Corrections.
Eventually, she transferred into the college system and found her favorite job in the registration office at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson.
Brenda met David J. Phillips in the fall of 1992, and they were united in marriage July 7, 1993. Brenda, Lindsey and Ryan, David, and David’s two children, James and Claire, became a family and lived together in Hutchinson for many years.
During this time, Brenda and her family enjoyed many summers in Crosslake, Minn., where she loved boating, hanging out at the campfire, and the company of her many friends and family.
In 2007, after many years of her continuing health issues, Brenda and David decided to fulfill a long-time dream of moving south to a warmer climate. They decided on beautiful Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and in August of that year, they purchased a home and made the move.
Brenda and David enjoyed each other and their surround-ings until Bren-da’s health declined, and she required a lengthy hospital stay. Brenda was able to return to her home in Lake Havasu, where she comfortably spent the last two weeks with close family and friends.
Brenda’s strength of spirit, eternal optimism, and smile touched everyone who met her. She will be missed more than any words can express.
Brenda is survived by her husband, David Phillips of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; sons Ryan Heilman and James Phillips; daughters Lindsey Wendorff (husband Greg), and Claire Phillips; mother Phyllis Birkholz of Hutchinson; sister Cindy Woller of Hutchinson; brother Brad Birkholz of Howard Lake; nieces; nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
In addition to her first husband, Brenda was preceded in death by her father, Wilton Birkholz.
A Celebration of Life took place Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson with Pastor Scott Grorud officiating. Organist was Shirley Holtz. Claire Phillips and Michael Splittgerber shared special memories, and congregational hymns were “How Great Thou Art” and “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.”
An interment service took place Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. in Crosslake, Minn. with Father Michael Patullo, of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church of Crosslake, officiating.
Arrangements were by the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson. Online condolences may be directed to www.hantge.com; click on Online Condolences.