Phyllis (Neu) Gottula

August 18, 1922 ~ April 23, 2018 (age 95)
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Phyllis (Neu) Gottula, one of six children, was born to Philip and Agnes (Dunck) Neu in Ashton, IA on August 18, 1922.  Phyllis passed away on April 23, 2018 with her daughters Ruth and Julie by her side.  She went off to dance with her husband once again listening to the music of her era playing softly in the background.  She was often called Phil by her siblings and was known to others as Phyllis, Dear, Mom, Grandma and Great-grandma.  

Phyllis’ father managed a mercantile store in Ashton, IA.  When the depression hit, Philip Neu moved his family to Omaha, NE.  This is where Phyllis completed her elementary and high school education.  When Phyllis graduated from 8th grade she received a two year scholarship to Mercy High School.  It was a private Catholic school and an all girl finishing school.  When the scholarship ran out she paid the remaining tuition by tutoring others.  Upon graduation from high school Phyllis was to enter nursing school.  Her eldest brother Harold (a practicing doctor) had offered to pay tuition but the onset of the war modified those plans.  After working in a restaurant for a year she entered comptometer school and then took full time employment in the payroll division of Cudahy Packing Company.  

Phyllis met her future husband Gerard at the Music Box (dance hall) in Omaha.  He asked her if she could dance the Vienna Waltz and she said yes, so off to the dance floor they went.  That was the beginning of a relationship that resulted in a marriage lasting over 72 yrs. with 11 children.  They continued dancing over the years, even after having children.

After having dated Gerard for some time, they became engaged and then he was transferred to the Jacksonville, Florida Naval Air Station.  Several months after his transfer, Phyllis took the train to visit Gerard to see if marriage is what he had in mind, which apparently it was.  

Phyllis and Gerard were united in marriage on June 1, 1945 in a very small ceremony by the chaplain at the Jacksonville Naval Base.  Upon Gerard’s discharge in the fall of 1946 they settled into their home in Steinauer where they raised their large family.   It is located across the street from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church of which she and Gerard were lifelong members.  Both were active church choir members into their later years.

Phyllis’ main career was headmaster and loving parent to 11 children.  Gerard had a love of gardening which resulted in Phyllis’ second job of slaving away over a hot kitchen stove during the Nebraska summers with no A/C, canning and freezing fruits and vegetables that had been harvested to feed the herd.  She was an excellent seamstress often making clothing for the children, household items, and banners for St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

In addition to raising the children, Phyllis was very active in St. Ann’s Altar Society.  She had a great love for flowers and always had a fresh bouquet on the kitchen table. Her volunteerism led her to actively participate in maintaining the floral arrangements for St. Anthony’s.  As her children started to leave the nest, Phyllis took employment as a seamstress at Sawyers Clothing Co where she performed alterations on the men’s clothing.  In addition, she attended Peru State College part-time taking classes that nurtured her interest in a variety of subjects.  Phyllis was also an avid reader.  When the children were young, she did most of her reading in the evenings once the children were in bed and when they left the nest she had far more time available to read which pleased her.

The first five children of Phyllis & Gerard were sons.  The sixth was a daughter and Phyllis was thrilled to add a girl to the family to help with household cleaning and preparation of meals.  When they had their last child, they were 1 shy of a dozen.  Phyllis loved her children dearly and took great pride in the family she had raised. 

Phyllis is survived by her children, Steve (Cheri), Rod, Gerard Jr/Curly (Sheri), Mark (Ellie), Ruth (Don), Roger, Sharon and Julie; 15 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and numerous sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents,, son, Gregory, daughter, Susan; grandson, Erik Madison; granddaughter, Jill Gottula; sisters, Ruth Neu & Dorothy Brandl, brothers, Harold Neu & Phillip (Jack) Neu and daughter-in-law, Darlene.   

Private family burial at St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Steinauer, Nebraska. 

Having lost her husband very recently, a Joint Celebration of Life and Memorial Mass will be held for Gerard & Phyllis at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Steinauer, NE on July 21, 2018 at the Saturday evening mass.  

Memorials to St. Ann‘s Altar Society, 310 Hickory, Steinauer, NE  68441

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