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Sat, July 31

Obituary: Phyllis Leah Runyan Gates

Phyllis Leah Runyan Gates

Phyllis Leah Runyan Gates

Phyllis Leah Runyan Gates, 91, was born in Jerome, Arizona, on Dec. 16, 1929, and passed away in Mayer, Arizona, on July 16, 2021. Phyllis was the second of three children born to Lora Gladys Runyan and Ruble Calmadge Runyan. Her older sister, Morine Smith preceded her in death, and her younger brother, Russell Runyan (Barbara), lives in Queen Creek, Arizona.

Phyllis grew up in the Tempe/Kyrene area of Arizona. She graduated from Tempe High School in 1947. She married her high school sweetheart, William “Bill” Gates, in 1946 and were married for 57 years until Bill passed away on July 31, 2003. Phyllis was always very active in the community and was a lifelong supporter of FFA and 4-H programs. Phyllis was the Yavapai Cowbell’s president and was the Arizona state Cowbell’s president in 1992. She was also recognized as Cattlewoman of the Year in 2003. Phyllis served as the PTA president of the Kyrene School District and was a school board member in Mayer, Arizona, for many years.

Phyllis enjoyed playing bridge with her girlfriends. She and Bill loved square dancing very much and they made many wonderful friends over the years. Phyllis loved Mexican food and always loved her dogs.

Phyllis is survived by her daughters, Pam Zawacky (Ervin) and Linda Gates, both of Mayer, Arizona. She has 15 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Bill, and three of her children, Robbie, Herbie, and Karen.

Graveside services will be held on Thursday July 22, 2021, at 10 a.m. at Double Butte Cemetery, 2505 W. Broadway Road, Tempe, Arizona.

Information was provided by the family.

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