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Phyllis Jo Walters

Thursday, July 11, 2024
Phyllis Jo Walters
Phyllis Jo Walters

The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.

The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.

– Marcus Aurelius It’s with great sadness, we announce Phyllis Jo Walters (PJ, Phyl & The Prez) passed from this earth at 1:45 p.m. on June 27, 2024.

A memorial will be held for her at her home in Boerne on July 22. She will be interred at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, California, on Sept. 27, and a celebration of her life will be held in San Diego on September 27.

Phyllis Jo (PJ) was born in Hamilton in 1933. Her father, Ira Phillip Moore, was the Hamilton County Clerk and signed her birth certificate. She lived in Hamilton with her parents until her beloved mother Wilma Jo (Milam) Moore passed from this earth Aug. 18, 1937. She then spent time with her maternal grandparents in Abilene.

After her father remarried, she returned to Hamilton, spending many happy days on the Riley farm. She graduated from Hamilton High School in the class of 1951. In 1954 she graduated from Mc-Murray University in Abilene with a bachelor’s degree in education. She then received a master’s degree in education at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.

It was in Lubbock in October 1956 where she met her husband of 67 years, Alan Bert Walters (Al), a pilot at Reese Air Force Base. They met on a blind date at the Reese AFB Officer’s Club. She was set up by a good friend’s husband.

Al and PJ married Dec. 20, 1957, after her uncle Chief Clifton told her she would have a good life if she married Al and that they did.

They lived on a whirlwind of Air Force bases, having two girls along the way. When her youngest was 10, PJ decided to go back to school for Montessori training. She studied in Omaha, Nebraska, and received a certification from the American Montessori Academy in Chicago, Illinois. Her degree was put on hold while Al’s illustrious career moved them to a succession of bases until his retirement from the Air Force at the Pentagon in 1982.

From there they moved to San Diego, where they built their dream home, and PJ began her career in Montessori while Alan worked on defense projects as a civilian.

PJ soon learned if she wanted to work at a good Montessori school, she would have to build one herself. And so she did. She founded Country Montessori School in 1989. She made the school a non-profit, which greatly contributed to its success.

One of the teachers Phyllis mentored is now the Head of School and wrote about Phyllis: Phyllis Walters founded Country Montessori School in 1989, pouring her heart and soul into the institution. A true Montessorian, she was a mentor, friend and educator, deeply respected by teachers, students and parents alike. Phyllis’s dedication to Montessori education inspired countless teachers, and her unwavering commitment to its philosophy was remarkable. Her legacy, marked by a strong foundation and guiding principles, has allowed CMS to thrive for 35 years. Phyllis Walters’ spirit and contributions remain woven into the fabric of the CMS family, evident in every aspect of the school today.

CMS is renaming their Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environment to: The Phyllis Walters Learning Garden, where they will have a plaque dedicated to PJ and a statue of a little girl in bronze and turquoise.

PJ was brought up to believe that time delivers our dreams and quietly carries our nightmares away, and most of what lies ahead is welcoming and serene. She put that belief into action when Al & PJ lost their home in San Diego to the California Witch Creek fire in 2007. Al & PJ restarted their lives by going on a quest throughout the southwest to find a new place to live. They went to Boerne at the suggestion of PJ’s sister Betty and quickly felt at home. They moved forward with quiet resilience, making new lifelong friends in Boerne.

In all that PJ did, she led with kindness. She taught her girls to host with generosity, cook with love, sew with patience, arrange flowers with focus, stomp on scorpions with conviction and kill a rattlesnake, if necessary, with a hoe. Both of her girls have not had the opportunity for the latter but if the need arises, so will they. As their mother did before them.

She also taught them the importance of kindness, honesty, education, resilience and humor. She had a profound effect on others even at a distance.

PJ was funny, and her insights were shockingly perceptive. She was an avid reader of her hometown paper, the Hamilton Herald-News. She loved buttercups, as they reminded her of her mother. She loved the color turquoise. She loved gardening, fossils, arrowheads and native American baskets. PJ lived in nine states and 32 houses, 25 of which she decorated, making every window covering by hand. She was a cousin, teacher, wife, mother, coworker, mentor, grandmother and constant friend.

PJ left this world as graceful, sweet, intelligent, strong and witty as she had always been in her life. She told us when it was time to say our goodbyes. She told us when she was ready to go, and she left this earth shortly after. We are very sad but grateful to have had her in our lives as long as we did.

PJ is predeceased by her mother, Wilma Jo (Milam) Moore, father Ira Phillip Moore and sister Betty Kathleen Beyer.

She is survived by her husband, Alan B. Walters; daughters Karen E. Dean (Daniel Dean) and Nancy K. Walters; grandchildren, Austin C. Dean (Haley Dean) and Katherine N. Dean; and countless friends, cousins, coworkers and students.

In lieu of flowers consider donating to Country Montessori School, 12642 Monte Vista Road, Poway, California 92064. Tax ID # 330363869. Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all they ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.

– Johne Wesley