Phyllis Bovill: 1942-2022
Phyllis Rae (Schrag) Bovill was born October 27, 1942, at home to Elmer and Clarice (Waltner) Schrag. She was the oldest of four siblings whom she loved her entire life. They became her closest friends and confidants. They enjoyed playing after the work was done, telling stories, and being together. As a child, she attended Brookside District #65 through the eighth grade followed by Freeman Academy where she graduated in 1960. She made friends in school, many of whom she still stayed in touch with even recently. After high school, she attended the Presentation School of Nursing where she attained her nursing degree. She met her future husband, George Bovill, through a neighbor of his who she was caring for in the hospital. He took a school picture from her to George. On August 16, 1964, they were married at the Salem-Zion Mennonite church in Freeman, South Dakota.
Phyllis and George raised three daughters on their farm north of Beresford. She was very active in every church they attended and enjoyed being part of the women’s groups, worship teams, and Bible studies. She loved reading the Bible and learning about God. After George accepted Jesus into his life, she convinced him to read the Bible with her every day and pray together. This is when they really became close. They were able to face difficult things together including losing the family farm, their daughter Lynnette dying, and eventually moving to town. Through all of it, reading the Bible together was a constant.
George had insisted that Phyllis stay home to take care of the children. When Donna and Lynnette were in high school, Phyllis began the process of renewing her nursing license. In the meantime, she worked at the Alcester grocery store. When she received her renewal, she worked as a nurse at the Hudson nursing home and eventually Bethesda where she worked until she retired.
In 1991, they opened their hearts and home to three foster siblings, Deryl, Lisa, and Christine, who became part of the family. Phyllis felt God’s call on her life to become a pastor during this time, which she did. She was ordained and then served as pastor of Living Word Fellowship.
In 2019, she became ill. Breast cancer had returned in her bones after 20 years of remission. She lost her fight with cancer on April 2, 2022 at the age of 79 years.
Among those who gratefully shared her life are her siblings and their families Renee (Darrell) Hartman, Ken (Claire) Schrag, and Rita (Richard) Hicks; her daughters, Nancy (Daniel) Piner and Donna Marie (David) Neuman; grandchildren, Michaela Piner, George Neuman, Ciara Neuman, Chase Neuman, and Qeleigh Neuman; and her foster son, Deryl (Jamie) Miles and their daughter, Faith; and the families of Lisa Snoozy and Christine McKay.
Given the opportunity, she would tell anyone who would listen still to share God’s love with each other. Memorials may be directed to KNWC, Union Gospel Mission or Feeding SD at Set Free Church.