Phyllis Webber Drumm Van Eaton

Phyllis Van Eaton, 90, Lawrence, KS, passed away peacefully at Brandon Woods Retirement Community on March 23, 2013.  Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday April 13, 2013, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street in Lawrence, KS.  Private inurnment will be at a later date at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Topeka, KS.

Phyllis Anne was born to Safford D. and Anne P. (Crane) Thacher on June 4, 1922, in Topeka, KS, the second of three children. 

She graduated from Topeka High School in 1940 and attended Washburn for a year. 

Phyllis married William A. Webber on May 29, 1941.  They welcomed a daughter in 1942 and enjoyed a few happy years before he was killed in action in 1945 during the last months of World War II.  On July 2, 1949, Phyllis married William M. Drumm, an attorney from Seneca, KS.  They made their home in Seneca until his death in May of 1987.  Phyllis moved to Lawrence in 1989 to be near her daughter and grandchildren.  She married her lifelong friend, John T. Van Eaton, on February 23, 1993.  They lived in Lawrence and enjoyed numerous road trips and cruises.

Phyllis was a member of Alpha Kappa chapter of Delta Gamma, Order of Eastern Star, and Chapter CW of P.E.O.  In her youth, she enjoyed dancing to the music of the Big Band Era and excelled in swimming, tennis, golf, and bowling.  She enjoyed playing the piano and singing in church choirs.  She was a Girl Scout leader for several years.  She was an avid bridge player and belonged to two bridge clubs in Seneca for many years.  Phyllis was a legal secretary, working for a law firm in Topeka in the 1940’s and later in her husband’s law practice in Seneca.

Phyllis is survived by her husband, John T. Van Eaton, Lawrence; her sister, Betty Jean Smith, Goddard; her daughter, Judy Webber Hathaway (Larry), Lawrence; grandchildren Anne M. Underwood (John), Baldwin City, Sarah E. Taitt (Anson), Shawnee, and Richard A. Benjes, Jr. (Christina), Olathe; seven great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Vera Kiewit, Lenexa and Donna Drumm, Topeka; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.  She was preceded in death by her brother, Frank E. Thacher.  Phyllis was devoted to her family and kept up with the birthdays and activities of all of her extended family until recently.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Theatre Lawrence, Seneca Free Library, or the charitable organization of your choice and be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

8 Condolences

  1. Molly Coplen on March 26, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Thank you for being my Aunt, always so warm and welcoming. I have enjoyed getting to know you while living in Lawrence. I loved hearing about your travels, and your stories of your youth and while Judy was growing up. Every morning I think of you with the fondest memories. I will love you always. Molly

  2. Mary Webber Coplen on March 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Phyllis, Thank you so much for being a very important part of the Webber family! When we lost Bill in his service to our country, we all grieved separately in different parts of the country; however, we all grieved together in a much deeper spiritual way! I especially treasure the memories from the day when just the two of us met for “coffee”… We came together as somewhat “strangers”and said “good-bye” as “sisters”! Thanks! Peace be with you and all of your family!! Mary

  3. Carole Gruetze Purdum on March 27, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Judy, I’ll always have fond memories of your Mom’s Girl Scout leadership. She was a devoted leader–well, except maybe not that time at camp when we had to hike around the lake (Big Wink).

    I hope your many wonderful memories of your Mom will bring you comfort.


  4. Bill Holthaus on March 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

    condolences from the Holthaus’ family. We are sad to hear the passing of Phyllis. Our family has many great memories of living across the street from Phyllis and Bill in Seneca. Wonderful people!

  5. Jane Holthaus Groff on March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Growing up across the street in SEneca from Bill and Phyllis was a treat. They were such good friends to mom and dad (Fritz and Rita Holthaus). Bill taught my brothers a lot about fishing and other fun things. Phyllis invited me over to spend sleepovers in a tent outside many summers with Christina. Those were such special times. She was a gracious woman.

  6. Max Holthaus on March 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    The Drumm’s house was such a great memory for the Holthaus Kids. Phyllis was so beautiful and nice to our clan. Bill took me with him to the farm to run the tractor and trap muskrats. I became a muskrat expert with Bill’s instruction. Phyllis always greated us upon our return. I think of those days often and appreciate the friendship that they offered.

  7. Betty Lou Holthaus Haug on March 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    What a beautiful lady Phyllis was, in many ways. I being the eldest of Fritz and Rita Holthaus’s 7 siblings, we the Holthaus children new Bill and Phyllis very well, many photos to prove.
    Bill and Dad were best of friends in business and of course fishing. Jeff, I believe was Bill’s son when it came to fishing. We spent many, many enjoyable picnics and fishing, boating times with the Drumms at Bill and Phyllis’s “little lake” at Centralia.
    Phyllis was always ready to go with all the neighborhood families. She was so very pretty and had a daughter Judy who was in college when we grew up. Such very fond memories of them and how so very neat and organized she always was. She will be missed as she was loved by many in the Seneca area. We always knew where to go to find Jeff when he was missing. Thank you Bill and Phyllis for so many fond memories of our childhood. Our condolences to all the families of Bill and Phyllis. Betty Lou Holthaus Haug, 209 N. 5th St. Seneca, Kansas, 66538

  8. Richard Thacher on March 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    To the family of Aunt Phyllis;
    May peace be with you at this time. Please accept our condolences. It had been many years since I had seen her but I still have very fond memories. – Richard Thacher

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