Phyllis May Wertzberger McAdoo passed away on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Phyllis was born on December 8, 1940 in Ottawa, Kansas, the daughter of Melvon and Pearl (Lindquist) Wertzberger.
Her family moved to Lawrence when she was still a babe, and she and her two brothers grew up at 905 Arkansas Street at a time when it was still surrounded by fields.
She graduated from Lawrence High and arrived at KU as a 5’10” knockout with a big brain and a big smile. She caught her future husband’s eye as she was striding across the campus to the Pi Beta Phi house.
Phyllis was an amazing mom and approached parenting as she did most things—with a sense of humor and keeping things real. She let her kids have a shot of Bailey’s on Christmas Eve hoping they would sleep in (did not work). She let her kids stay up late to watch “Starsky and Hutch.” She proudly displayed her young son’s art project, a large two-headed snake that was more than a little bit phallic. And her advice to her teenage daughter on a dateless Friday night was, “Oh honey, high school just isn’t your time. Be grateful you aren’t peaking now.”
As a pharmacist for nearly 50 years, most of her customers trusted her more than their doctors. She moved back to Lawrence from Wichita in 1987 and bought Gibson Pharmacy. Her customers brought her pies and cakes and vegetables from their gardens. Her home phone number was on the store voice mail and her customers could call anytime night or day. And if someone could not pay for their prescriptions, she’d figure something out.
Her many friends loved her formidable strength and wicked smarts. She believed that being a friend was about showing up. She considered being called a “tough old broad” a compliment. Those close to her knew beneath her seemingly “tough” exterior she had a soft underbelly, and was one of the most thoughtful, kindest people around.
Phyllis loved a long drag on a cigarette, G&T’s with extra lime, homegrown tomatoes, Elvis singing gospel and trashy novels. She loved to cook for friends and family. Most of all, she loved to laugh, and making others laugh as well.
Survivors include her daughter, Lynne McAdoo and brother, Ken (Annette) Wertzberger.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother John Wertzberger and son, Chris McAdoo.
Due to Covid-19, there will not be a public service. Memorial contributions may be made in Phyllis’ name to the Ladybird Pantry (online donations at www.ladybirddiner.com) or Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
For more information or to post a condolence go to warrenmcelwain.com.