Phyllis Robinson Olson Wheatlake

Thornton, CO;  Phyllis O. Wheatlake, 101, died on November 13, 2015.  She was born on October 31, 1914 in Glens Falls.  She was the daughter of the late Gertrude Bullard Robinson and Albert George Robinson.   

She is survived by her daughter Lynn O. Wilson and son-in-law Alfred Dunlop of Pilot Knob, NY and their children Mary and David; and son-in-law Bruce Babcock of Lodi, WI and his sons Brian, Kevin and Douglas.  Her daughter in law, Joanne (Carl) Glase Olson of Coeur d'Alene, ID and grandsons Nathan and Eric. Survivors also include stepchildren and spouses Chris Sigwart, Don and Gwen Wheatlake, Linda and Judd Sundine and Vicki Wheatlake, plus their children.  She is also survived by a number of great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.

Phyllis is preceded in death by her husband Neal D. Olson, her second husband Burton K Wheatlake, her sons Kenneth Olson and Mark Olson, and her step-son Doug Wheatlake. Her son Carl B. Olson died on the same day as she did, a few hours later.  Her daughter Dr. Janet E. Olson passed away on Dec. 29, 2015. Phyllis was the last of her generation of the family to survive.  Her siblings were Mary, Bob, Caroline and Eunice. A brother David died as an infant.

She had a strong Lake George heritage. Parents and grandparents and even some great-grandparents, Bullards and Robinsons, had camps on the Lake.  Phyllis spent much of her life at Lake George, first on Juanita Island and then from 1917 on, in Pilot Knob.  She had a lifelong love for the Lake and spent many happy hours swimming, boating, hiking and going on countless adventures.  Stories abound of childhood escapades with her twin sisters Caroline and Eunice and her neighbors Buster Scoville and Andy Rooney.

After graduating from Glens Falls High School, she traveled far from home to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at a time when it was unusual for women to go to college.  Her mother and her mother's two sisters were also college graduates.  Phyllis graduated with a B.A. in Journalism in 1938 and worked at the Glens Falls Times.  She was a lifetime member of the American Association of University Women.

At the University of Wisconsin, she met Neal D. Olson who became her husband of nearly 41 years. They were married in 1941.  He was a chemical engineer for the DuPont Company, and they lived in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  They had 5 children.  Dancing was a favorite activity of theirs, as were tennis, golf and playing bridge.  They enjoyed camping trips with their family, as well as spending time at Lake George.  Both were firefighters with the Pilot Knob Volunteer Firefighters' Association.  They were active in the Pilot Knob Association, the Lake George Association and The Fund for Lake George.  After Neal retired, they spent winters in Arizona and summers at Lake George.  Phyllis was on the board of directors of the 4000 member retirement community Venture Out in Mesa, AZ.

At Venture Out, she later met Burton K. Wheatlake who became her second husband for twenty- three years.  Prior to his retirement, Burt had owned his own business in water treatment and was a Colonel in the US Army Reserves.  With this marriage in 1986, Phyllis acquired a second set of children and their families. In addition to spending winters in Arizona and summers at her camp in Pilot Knob and his cabin on the St. Croix River in Minnesota, Burt and Phyllis traveled the world including trips to South America, China and Africa.  They later moved to The Villas at Sunny Acres, a retirement community in the Denver, CO area near many of Burt's children.  Two lifelong passions of Phyllis were reading and playing bridge.  She managed to set aside time for reading even when her children were young.  She continued to read voraciously until late in life, even after she became legally blind.  An excellent bridge player, on her hundredth birthday, she could still double, cross-ruff, finesse and beat her opponents.


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