Phyllis (Schafer) Cady, 73, passed away on March 17, 2023, in Apache Junction, Arizona. Phyllis was a mother, a grandmother, a talented musician, a two-time cancer survivor and a beloved nurse.
Born on October 7, 1949, in Red Wing, MN, she grew up in Mazeppa, MN, with her parents J Gilbert and Doris (Atkinson) Schafer, and her two sisters. When she graduated from Mazeppa High School in 1967, she had dreams of joining the Peace Corps. She instead went on to attend Rochester Junior College, where she met her future husband. She then went to Mankato State College and Brown Institute, ultimately earning a degree as Radio Operator, First Class.
On June 13, 1970, she married James Michael Cady at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mazeppa, MN. After moving to Red Wing, MN, she worked a variety of jobs before starting a family. In 1975 she gave birth to a daughter who died in infancy due to a heart condition. Afraid to risk another infant loss, they adopted a daughter, which was followed by Phyllis then giving birth to a second daughter and a son.
Managing three kids and a household required a lot of dedication and yet as her children reached their teens, Phyllis sought a new challenge and returned to college to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing from Rochester Community College in 1995. She worked as a nurse in several hospitals in Zumbrota and Red Wing before retiring in 2017. She survived breast cancer in her 40s due to a well-timed mammogram and colon cancer in her 60s.
In February 2018, she moved to Apache Junction, Arizona, to enjoy the dry desert air and, among other things, peruse the wares at the Mesa Flea Market. Throughout her life she remained a talented singer, pianist, and organist, playing at church, weddings, and funerals. She was also a talented typist, computer operator, radio operator and was skilled at remembering names, dates, and faces.
Survived by her spouse James (Jim) Michael (Mike) Cady of Apache Junction, AZ; daughters Jennifer Berggren of Apache Junction, AZ, and Emily (Simon) Stauffer of Pfaeffikon, Switzerland; son Matthew of Saint Paul, MN; as well as her 6 grandchildren: Nick, Avery, Lauren, Athena, Layla, and Louis. In addition, she is also survived by her sisters Janet Sibley of Stewartville, MN, and Carol (Duane) Hofschulte of Mazeppa, MN; her brothers-in-law Patrick (Patty) Cady of Maple Plain, MN, and Timothy Cady of Buffalo, MN; and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents and her beloved infant daughter, Holly Ann; her brother-in-law Richard Sibley; and sister-in-law Mary Cady.
While she loved her living children, she longed for the day she could reunite with her firstborn, Holly Ann, who died only 5 days after birth.
Mom now paints rainbows in the skies to remind her grandkids that she’s watching over us all.
A funeral service is scheduled for 10:00 am on March 30, 2023, at St. George’s Catholic Church in Apache Junction, AZ. A celebration of life service will be held in the summer of 2024 in Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to SHARE Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support (nationalshare.org) or towards breast cancer research.