Cover photo for Phyllis Joyce Retzlaff's Obituary
Phyllis Joyce Retzlaff Profile Photo
1928 Phyllis 2023

Phyllis Joyce Retzlaff

February 23, 1928 — August 31, 2023


Phyllis Joyce Retzlaff, age 95, died on August 31st, 2023 at Pathstone in Mankato. She lived in her home until August and was proud of her age, health, and independence. Phyllis was born in St. Paul to Erwin and Olga Henschel. They moved to La Crosse in 1947, where she met her husband, Ernie. They married on October 7th, 1950, and had two children, Ellen and Eric.


Phyllis worked as a medical secretary in La Crosse, retiring with Ernie to Belle Vista, Arkansas, in 1990 until their move to Mankato in 2007.


Volunteerism was a core value of Phyllis’ life. While she served in many ways, one of her favorite roles was with her local Arkansas, Arizona, or Minnesota hospital. In Wisconsin, she had volunteered with the Girl Scouts as her daughter’s group leader and served as the President of the Riverland Girl Scout Council. Beyond those two favorites, the list of volunteer areas is endless, and she enjoyed every opportunity.


Music was a central part of Phyllis’ entire life. She sang in church and community choirs and enjoyed listening to many types of music. Phyllis and Ernie spent their married years camping and traveling across the US and abroad. They wintered in Casa Grande, AZ for many years and took advantage of their retirement lifestyle to do and see as much as possible. As a very social person, Phyllis found wonderful friends in every corner of her life and stayed in touch with many of them.


Phyllis is survived by her daughter, Ellen (Edison) Barber; son, Eric (Jeri) Retzlaff; grandsons, Justin (Meagan) Barber and Andrew (Beth) Retzlaff; and great-grandchildren, Natalie and Rylee Retzlaff and  Madeline and Lawson Barber. Her husband, parents, and younger brother, Buss Henschel, preceded her in death.


A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday, September 12th, at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Mankato at 2:00 pm with pie and ice cream fellowship following the service. Northview-North Mankato Mortuary assisted the family with arrangements.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Christ the King’s Music Fund.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Starts at 2:00pm (Central time)

Christ the King Lutheran Church

222 Pfau St, Mankato, MN 56001

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