PHYLLIS ADA DEVENS, age 89 of Janesville, passed away on December 24, 2022 at her assisted living apartment at Bridgewater in Janesville, following complications after a fall.
Phyllis (or Phyl as many called her) was born in Lake Mills, IA on June 22, 1933, to Clinton and Ada (Peterson) Stokesbary. She was the youngest of nine children. She attended school in Garner, IA, and graduated with the class of 1950. She began her working years as a telephone operator in Mankato. She met Lloyd Devens, the man who would become her husband, at a skating rink (he was really something to see). Following their wedding their first two children were born in Mankato. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Mason City, IA where Phyllis lived most of her adult life. Three more children were born into their family there. Phyllis worked for many years as a dry cleaner and gifted seamstress, attributing these skills to her mother. She became somewhat famous for her recycled, crocheted bags. Everything Phyllis crafted was of the highest quality and creativity. After retirement Lloyd and Phyllis moved to Arizona, and their sunny home became a favorite attraction for friends and family. Following Lloyd’s death in 2001 she returned to the Midwest. Phyllis has been with her beloved second husband, William “Dusty” Schnathorst, for 19 years. She was a long-time member of the Waseca Christian Assembly. Her twinkling blue eyes, quick wit, and encouraging words will be sorely missed.
Phyllis is survived by her second husband, William “Dusty” Schnathorst of Janesville; children, Brad (Joleen) Devens of Ramsey, David (Therese) Devens of Merritt Island, FL, Scott (Julie) Devens of Mankato, and Tammy Devens of Bend, OR; nine grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; one great-great-granchild; and two sisters, Maxine Upmeyer of Mason City, IA, and Ruth Law of Clear Lake, IA. She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband; her youngest child, Greg; and several brothers and sisters.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at Waseca Christian Assembly with Rev. Brad Wickersheim officiating. Visitation will be held for one hour before the service at the church. A reception will follow services, and interment of ashes will be held at a later date.
The poetry below was written and posted in honor of Phyllis Devens by her daughter, Tammy Devens.
Thank you for holding me in your arms
when I was newly born.
Thank you for slippers and bows and clothes
when yours were old and worn.
Thank you for cooking delicious food
that had your special touch.
Thank you for birthdays and holidays –
you always gave so much.
Thank you for laughing and playing games
when I was young and free.
Thank you for making sure I would know
my mother wanted me.
The cloth held in her hands
is almost alive
like some smooth pet
waiting for a master.
She leads with those blue lights
from stitch to perfect stitch,
following the plan in her head,
patient as God.
When I am laying down to sleep
and daily cares trail of like sheep,
one thought arrives - all on it’s own - it’s
And sometimes I have known great fears;
that, too, is when the thought appears,
from far away - a lullaby - it’s
The thread that’s woven through my heart,
by one who’s such a vital part:
close like my breath - the same as home - it’s
Held now within my memory
unbeckoned she’ll still come to me:
the love she brought - the love I give - it’s