Sylvia Irene Wells

Family and friends will celebrate the life of Sylvia Irene Wells at Warren McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence, KS on Tuesday, October 15th at 11:00am. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Sylvia was born in Meade, KS on June 30, 1934 to George and Josie (Reed) Wells. She grew up in Mulvane, KS with her siblings Joe, Shirley, Norman, and Lois. Growing up the third out of five children, Sylvia had a sly sense of humor and a mischievous smile. She knew how to make people laugh and loved to laugh with them.

Sylvia met Thomas M. Phillips, Sr. while working at Boeing in Wichita, KS in 1953. They married and had four children – Susan, Tom, Jr., Lori Jo, and Tim. The family moved to Topeka, KS in 1971 where Sylvia found her true calling as Assistant Activities Director at the United Methodist Home. She continued to work there until her retirement in 1999.

Sylvia was musically and artistically inclined. She started playing the piano in high school and never stopped. Sylvia played everything from show tunes to hymns for friends and family to sing along. She also helped plan holiday bazaars, painted wild landscapes of the Kansas countryside, and made pretty things out of bits and pieces of anything she could find. Her self-deprecating wit and love for fun made most people feel genuinely “at home” around her.

Tom, Sr. and Sylvia divorced and she subsequently met Darrell F. Wells, marrying him in 1979. She joked that she got her maiden name back by getting married again.

Sylvia was creative. She inspired her children and grandchildren with her drawings and illustrated stories. She made dolls, quilts, puppets, jewelry, and Christmas ornaments. She made great cream puffs, sub sandwiches, shrimp creole, and chili. She loved to dance, listen to music, play cards, giggle with her sisters, drink coffee, and sit with her beloved dog companion, Zoey.

Sylvia was preceded in death by her parents, George and Josie Wells, her dear sister Shirley (Wells) Hartman, her husband, Darrell Wells, and her former husband, Thomas M. Phillips, Sr.

Her grateful survivors include her children and their partners, Susan Phillips (Mike Brehm) of Chicago, IL, Tom Phillips, Jr. (Cary), Lori Jo Phillips (Dave Oliver), and Tim Phillips (Alee), all of Lawrence, KS; her grandchildren Maxwell Phillips (Julie) of Olathe, KS, Mia Phillips, George Stockhammer, Sam Phillips, and Ike Phillips all of Lawrence, KS; sister Lois Nocton (Denny) of Wheatridge, CO; brothers Joe Wells (Ginny) of Boulder, CO, and Norman Wells (Franny) of Oro Valley, AZ; brother-in-law Lucky Hartman of Mulvane, KS; and many nieces and nephews.

A 10:00am visitation for family and friends will precede the services. The family suggests memorials in Sylvia’s name to the Lawrence Humane Society and may be sent in care of the mortuary.




3 Condolences

  1. Tim Peterson on October 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I am sending all family and friends much love and light with the news of her passing. Sylvia’s grandmother Sarah Peterson Wells and my grandfather Harry Peterson were siblings thus making Sylvia’s father and my father first cousins. Sylvia and I are either first cousins once removed, or second cousins. (I can never remember which). Peace.
    Tim Peterson – Denver, CO

  2. Kathy Engstrom on October 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Lori, So sorry to hear about this. Your mom was a wonderful lady and so dear to Rose. You are in my prayers. Love Trina

  3. PJ on October 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    My husband and I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of your beloved Sylvia. We wanted to share with you comfort from God’s Word found in John 5:28,29. Here we are given the wonderful hope of the resurrection of our dear loved ones, here on earth, just as Lazarus was in John 11. Our Heavenly Father shares our pain, when someone we love dies. (Psalm 34:18) May you draw comfort from the many loving memories you all made and shared together, cherish them in your hearts always and her memory will live on in each and every one of you who knew and loved her. Take care of yourselves and each other during this very difficult time.

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