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Phyllis Kohler, 2011 Midway City Honored Citizen

The Midway Boosters are pleased to announce the annual Honored Citizen for 2011.

Phyllis Buck Kohler was born in Park City, UT. She graduated from Park City High School as Valedictorian of her class and was Student Body treasurer her junior and senior years. The highlight of her school years was being in the award winning Park City High School Band. She also enjoyed being in the chorus and participating in the All State Chorus at BYU. She attended LDS Business College in Salt Lake City and Woodbury College in Los Angeles. She grew up working in the family store, Welch, Driscoll & Buck - established in 1894 by her Grandfather and closed in 1954 by her father. It was on Main Street where the Treasure Mountain Inn stands. At 11, she washed show cases and swept the floors until she graduated to clerk and later to bookkeeper. She learned ballroom dances that were practiced and then performed at the annual Gold & Green Ball sponsored by the LDS Church.

Her first job was as a report writer with Dunn & Bradstreet.She later worked at AT&T in Park City as a telephone operator back when an operator said “Number Please” and connected the calls. It was the most enjoyable job she ever had. She later worked in the accounting department at Shrivel Patterson Finance in Salt Lake City.

In 1952, she married LeRoy A. Kohler in the Salt Lake Temple. They settled down to build a house and start a family. Roy worked with his father and later purchased the farm. They had nine children, six sons, Melvin (Mick), Mike, Phillip (deceased), Grant, Kameron and Nathan, and three daughters, Kathleen (Kathy Bergin), Nancee Heckel and Lisa Christen. The farm was a perfect place to raise children and teach them to work. Summers brought nephews (one per summer), to stay and work on the farm. They hosted 7 exchange students and many other boys stayed from a few weeks to 4 years. She prepared many large meals during the summer for hay haulers, visitors and family.

Roy passed away in 1987. Phyllis currently has 43 grand children and 14 great grand children. She still lives on the farm. Phyllis & Roy were at the meeting the night Scott Whitaker suggested they celebrate the Swiss Heritage and calling our celebration ‘Swiss Days’. Phyllis was Booster Treasurer for several years in the beginning and also worked in the booths. As Relief Society Pres. she was in charge of their booth for 3 years. For several years she baked 250 to 300 loaves of Swiss Bread in her kitchen during the summer and filled her freezer and others who had room to spare. They also made sauerkraut in their kitchen for the first few years, until it got too big. When the Ward took over the booths, she was in charge of the 1st ward bread baking and with the help of Bonnie Bezzant taught many ladies how to braid bread. Over the years she made many Swiss costumes in different sizes. When her daughter, Kathy was ‘Swiss Miss,’ she was informed that the mother of the Swiss Miss was in charge of making the float. She built the float which she took to the 24th of July parade and got the Governors award. She built the floats for the next 6 or 7 years with Roy’s help. Then she decorated them, she drove them to Salt Lake and also drove them in the parade herself. She received two trophies and several Governors Award Certificates.

In succeeding years, it became difficult to get the older girls to participate in Swiss Miss. At a Booster meeting Phyllis made the suggestion that they have a ‘Little Swiss Miss’. It passed unanimously. It has been a great thing and a special part of Swiss Days. Phyllis was a Charter Member of the ‘Swiss Hand Bell Ringers’ and played for 5 years. She has been in the Swiss Chorus since the late 1960’s, not missing many years. She was also a member of the ‘Heber Valley Choralettes’ for over 30 years. She has served in many Ward and Stake positions as well as serving in the Santa Rosa, California Mission from 2005- 2006.

She and her family have thought of Swiss Days as a big, important and enjoyable part of their lives, and her family is continuing the tradition.

BY AJA MILLS   08/27/2011

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