Cover photo for Phyllis E. James's Obituary
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1937 Phyllis 2023

Phyllis E. James

April 23, 1937 — February 5, 2023

James, Phyllis Elaine (Miller) born in Hampton, IA on April 23, 1937, to the late Lawrence (Ed)

and Helen (Harris) Miller, died at home in Natrona Heights, PA on February 5 2023 with her

loving daughters by her side. Also predeceased by daughter Vicki Valeri in 1982 and son Brian

in 2021. Left to grieve her loss are daughters Terri Reighard (who provided expert,

compassionate care to Phyllis during her illness) and her husband Scott, Lower Burrell, PA,

Diane Storman and her husband Pete, San Diego, CA and Elaine James and her husband Kevin

Mitchell, Flushing, OH. Phyllis was Grandma to Joanne Valeri, Nicholas Storman, Dalton,

Jordan and Courtney Gilbert and Gigi to Serenity Rowe. Daughter-in-law Lauren James

(Foster) and siblings Jeanette Kirschbaum, Larry Miller and Garry Miller, all of Iowa, also

survive, along with numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, numerous

cousins and many friends.

Phyllis spent most of her adult life living in PA, except between 1991 and 2004, when she lived

in IA. She was an avid reader and crossword puzzle enthusiast. She loved fashion and keeping

a beautiful home. On weekends, she could often be found scouting malls, yard sales and thrift

shops for treasures. She boasted a unique and beautiful collection of glassware which she

loved. She always put time and thought into choosing the perfect gift for the recipient,

whatever the occasion. In recent years, she was able to check some adventures off her bucket

list, including riding 200 miles an hour with a professional driver on a NASCAR racetrack,

traveling to New York City and Maine and visiting Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, among

many other special memories. She loved a good game of Scattergories; hilarity typically

ensued, whether played in-person or on Zoom. Phyllis was a devout Christian and long-time

member of the United Church of Christ, Ebensburg before joining St. Paul Lutheran Church in

Hampton, IA and finally, Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Kensington, PA upon moving there.

As a final act of generosity, Phyllis has donated her brain to the National Institutes of Health

for the research of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), from which she

passed. It was her wish to contribute to building knowledge of this little understood diagnosis

so that future patients and families may suffer less. PML is a rare condition that is caused by

the long -term use of immunosuppressants, such as the treatment she received for lymphoma.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma

Society. Phyllis and her daughter Terri participated in the Light the Night Walk to raise money

for this worthy organization for many years. She had a large assortment of survivor t-shirts

from the various walks over 27 years after being diagnosed. You can donate directly at or find their home page at Terri, Diane and

Elaine express their heartfelt thanks to nurses Aubrey, McKenna, and Liliana, social worker

Candace and the doctors, pharmacists and delivery drivers from Enhabit Hospice for their

caring and kindness during this difficult time. At Phyllis’ request, there will be no services. A

celebration of her life will be held later this year. If you would like to be notified once this

celebration is scheduled, please contact

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Phyllis E. James, please visit our flower store.


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