Phyllis P. Terzich
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Age 92, Passed away from natural causes, March 1, 2019, San Diego CA
Phyllis was born on June 25th, 1926 in San Bernardino, California to Maxine (Martin) and Paul Webb. Older sister to Jack Webb and Paul Webb, Phyllis graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1944. She worked tirelessly to help support the family and her two younger brothers, including being a switchboard operator for the phone company. In 1948 Phyllis by chance attended a USO dance in San Bernardino, where she met her husband, her sailor, Anthony (Tony) P. Terzich, who hitchhiked from San Diego to visit his Aunt Tess, sister to Tony’s mom Anna. Phyllis and Tony were married at Saint Bernardines Catholic Church in San Bernardino, September 25th, 1948, with Phyllis converting to Catholicism, thus began her lifelong strong and lasting faith. After their Honeymoon in Crestline up in the San Bernardino Mountains, where Phyllis has strong historical and current family roots, the newly married couple moved to San Diego to start their lives.
They moved into a small cramped upstairs cellar converted into an apartment in a house near the 32nd Street Navy Base (Navy Base San Diego). Years later, this house was completely renovated and preserved since it was designed and built by Captain Mathew Sherman as the first residence in Alonzo Horton’s new town San Diego and is now known as the Sherman House, located on 19th Street in Sherman Heights.
Phyllis was a very energetic, well read and bright lady and always strived for the best for her new family. While Tony was stationed at various bases around San Diego, Phyllis got a job as secretary to the Mayor of San Diego and worked at what is now the County Administration Center. With the backdrop of sea planes landing and taking off in San Diego Bay and the original Anthony’s restaurant near Broadway pier, Phyllis honed her secretary skills and by 1954 started a new career path working with a researcher doing time and motion studies, a big new field in the 1950’s. Through Phyllis’s hard work and Tony’s tireless duty to the Navy, they had moved to a court complex on Oregon Street in the University Heights neighborhood. 1955 turned out to be a pivotal year with Phyllis becoming pregnant with her first boy, Jeffrey Mark. Being the 1950’s of course that meant the end of a work career for Phyllis, at least that’s what she thought. While Phyllis was focused on her new path as mother, and while Tony was off in the Pacific serving two back to back deployment cruises on the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La, Phyllis secured a brand-new home for her family in the just built development of Twain Heights, sandwiched between Mission Valley/Grantville and Allied Gardens. Somehow, Phyllis made the VA loan stretch and the family home on Hodson Street was established, with Phyllis performing miracles with Tony’s $110 monthly paycheck and a $79 monthly mortgage. The always affable Tony convinced the right people that he needed to be stationed back in San Diego to be with his wife and family and never left San Diego for a deployment again, retiring from the Navy in 1965 from NAS Miramar.
Phyllis, a devout Catholic, found a new and permanent spiritual home at Mission San Diego de Alcala, the historic Spanish Mission located a mile from her new home, in 1957. While Tony was stationed around the County, from NAS Miramar to NAS North Island, a warm and loving home at Hodson Street was created in the ensuing years, and the family grew with their second son, Philip Anthony, born in 1958 and their third son, Christopher Paul, born in 1962. The motivated and energetic Phyllis, in addition to caring for her family and managing a sparse budget expertly, volunteered and became an integral part of the Mission church community. Not only was she a Den Mother for the Scouts of the Mission’s troop, she also established and set up the Library at the adjacent Nazareth House School.
Through the turbulent ‘60’s, Phyllis and Tony raised and sheltered their family, both volunteering for the Boy Scouts, while Tony volunteered as a Little League coach and Usher at 10AM mass at the Mission. Phyllis, being very smart but always dedicated to her family, wanted more, and she missed the challenge and stimulation of a work environment. In 1971 her chance came with the arrival of a new Pastor for the Mission, Monsignor Eagan. Monsignor Eagan had big plans for the Mission, and Phyllis was to be part of it, becoming Parish secretary that same year, while her sons Philip and Chris attended Nazareth House next door, just a minute away.
Sweeping changes occurred in the following years at the Mission, with Phyllis performing duties ranging from being the parish accountant and managing the gift shop to preparing and mimeographing the Sunday Bulletin and everything in between. The Mission Parish grew, facilities improved, and new events were organized with the help of Phyllis and Tony, Monsignor Eagan and several other parish families, including the Annual Festival of the Bells (Fiesta) and Patron’s Dinner. Phyllis and Tony took great pride in the Fiesta. The Patrons Dinner, instituted by Monsignor Eagan to raise funds for the restoration of the Mission, was where Phyllis shined. She tirelessly and adeptly organized all event details and was able to attend many of these dinners even after retirement which she really enjoyed.
Phyllis was Parish Secretary at the Mission until 1990, retiring a year after Tony who worked federal civil service after the Navy. They made the best of these retirement years, devoting time to their new grandson Brandon, later followed by Ryan and Summer, as well as volunteering for the Knights of Columbus, Alhambra and chairing the reunion committees for both the USS Shangri-La and Tony’s WWII duty station, the Carrier Aircraft Services Unit 31 based in Hilo, Hawaii. They organized several reunions and got to see many parts of the country and made many new friendships and reconnections. Phyllis was also a lifetime and auxiliary member of Tony’s Association of Aviation Ordnancemen, attending several annual conferences.
Tony’s volunteer leadership positions in both the Knights of Columbus and Alhambra were supported by Phyllis’s superb administrative and organization skills. Both provided heart-felt support and hours of time for special needs children and adults through these organizations.
Tony passed away in 2006 and Phyllis continued on without her beloved Tony, still being the mom and grandmother and giving stalwart support to both family, friends and neighbors; the patient, excellent listener who lived life as a true Christian. Despite the many challenges she faced in later years she always tried to make everyone feel better, never wanted to raise concerns, always putting her best foot forward and making the best of whatever life gave her. She would always say that the Lord still must have work for her to do, and she spread her wit and kindness to all of those around her including those who provided care in her last years.
Phyllis lost her mom and dad in 1989 and 1990, respectively, and her brothers Paul in 2013 and Jack in 2018.
Phyllis is survived by her sons, Jeffrey (Ave’) and grandchildren Brandon (Anndria), Ryan and Summer, Philip (Jenny), David, Carolina and Isabel and seven great grandchildren, and Christopher (Dina).
In lieu of flowers Phyllis’s family requests that donations be made in her name to Noah Homes or the Alzheimer’s Association of San Diego. The family welcomes all that want to attend her service:
Phyllis P. Terzich Memorial Mass and Celebration of Life
Friday, March 29th, 2019
Reception to follow in La Sala
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala
10818 San Diego Mission Road
San Diego, CA 92108
The family wishes to thank the incredible and tireless staff and administration of Steller Care who watched over Phyllis and brought her back to life to be with us for another 8 years. The family also wishes to thank Apreva Hospice and Featheringill Mortuary for their care and support in these difficult past two months.