Baker Kaiser was born on September 5, 1925, in Hollywood, Calif. She
passed away on February 28, 2009, at the age of 83 at The Court in Reno,
from Phyllis Kaiser memorial celebration
sister, Betty, was sent to "go get her" from Baltimore
and bring her back to Nevada after Phyllis graduated from Johns
for all of us that she got her.
Her dad's full name was Charles Duncan Baker.
Her son, Phil, told the story of the time his mom lost her wedding
ring. Phyllis didn't know where she had misplaced it, which took
Phil aback, as a wedding ring is a pretty important item.
When it turned up during a housecleaning, Phil noticed that all
the diamonds were missing.
His mother explained that she had sold the diamonds to help someone
Longtime Nevada journalist Dennis
told the story of the time in the 1970's when he interviewed Sen.
Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., on an edition of KTVN TV-2's Face the
Noting the killing of the MX missile and Nevada's burgeoning opposition
to the high-level nuclear waste dump, Laxalt wondered if the state
was going "peacenik."
In excerpting the story for the evening news, Myers needed a counterpoint
and Phyllis came to mind.
When Myers asked about Nevada becoming peacenik, she replied "sounds
good to me."
Myers asserted that Phyllis' travels to Vietnam in 1991 (with
her adopted Vietnamese son) and to Central America during the
Reagan Iran-Contra Years (where she once came under fire on a
trip to deliver relief supplies), constituted her attempt to make
up for America's sins against the people of those countries.
She was a resident of Reno
and Sparks for the past 55 years.
Phyllis graduated from Las Vegas High School at the age of 15. She graduated
from Stephens College
in Columbia, Missouri, with and Associate in Arts Degree in 1943.
She became a nurse cadet
and graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 1946. She
then graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno with a B.A. Degree
in Social Services and Corrections in 1978.
Phyllis was preceded in death
by her parents, C.D. Baker and Pearl Baker as well as her husband, Dr.
John J. Kaiser.
She was also preceded in
death by her sons, Michael D. Kaiser, John J. Kaiser II and Kha N. Ung.
Surviving are her sister,
Betty Bandy and nephew, Jim Brandy of Coronado, CA. Also surviving are
sons, Phillip J. Kaiser (Susan Meyer) and Gia N. Ung (Van) both of Reno
and daughter, Joni Kaiser (Tom Lake) of Sparks, Janell Moss (Denzel)
of Boise, ID and Dawn Joan Kaiser (Sam Hundley) of Cheyenne, WY. Surviving
grandchildren include Rachel, Stefan, Nathan, Michael Daniel, Karla,
Terry, Greg, Sheri and Randy.
Phyllis worked as an R.N. first in Baltimore with the Public Health
Service, then at Washoe Medical Center and the Veterans Administration
Hospital in Reno. She then worked for two years at Headstart at St.
Thomas Aquinas Church.
Phyllis worked for two years
with the Cyesis Program for pregnant teenagers at the YWCA. For eight
years, Phyllis served as the director of Community Welfare, a nonprofit
agency that provided food, lodging and fuel to those in need.
From 1975-1985 Phyllis served
as Nevada State Director of Refugee Resettlement for Church World Service.
In her retirement, she wrote voluminous poems and was a member of the
National Association of American Pen Women.
Phyllis was a church organist for 43 years and a piano teacher for 25
years. She was the organist for Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC)
graduations for 14 years. Phyllis was a member of Reno Friends Meeting,
Sparks United Methodist Church, and South Reno Methodist Church.
Phyllis volunteered with
the Friends of the UNR Library, Rebound, American Friends Service Committee,
Friends of Washoe County Library, Physician's Spouses (Doctors
Wives) of Northern Nevada, Sierra Club, Kiwanis Club, American Association
of University Women, the Democratic Party, Daughters of the American
Revolution, Committee to Aid Abused Women, Reno Housing Authority, Veterans
Memorial School, Habitat for Humanity, Women of Nevada, Anne Martin
Womens Political Caucus, CROP walk, American Nurses Association
and the Nature Conservancy.
English as a Second Language classes at TMCC. She served on Washoe Countys
Social Services Board for eight years and on the Washoe County Health
Department's Family Planning Board for 10 years.
She received the following
- 1984 CAAWs
Hannah Humanitarian Award
- 1985 Sertoma District
Award for Service to Mankind
- 1985 City of Sparks
Commendation For Improving Human Services
- 1986 Reno Optimist
Club Service Club Person of the Year
- 1990 Distinguished
Nevadan, University of Nevada
- 1991 The National
Conference of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award
Please join us as we honor
the life and good works of Phyllis Baker Kaiser who said, "To be
part of peoples lives is a great gift."
Her memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 2 p.m.
at the Sparks United Methodist Church at the corner of Oddie Blvd. and
The family would like to thank the terrific employees at The Court at
Reno and Vista Care for caring for Phyllis in such a fine manner.
In lieu of flowers donations
can be made to CAAW at 1735 Vassar St., Reno, NV, 89502, or to McQueen
High School with a note for the New Horizons Scholarship; attention:
Mrs. Finney, 6055 Lancer St., Reno, NV 89523; or to the Music Fund at
Sparks Methodist Church or to any charity of your choice.
Book for Phyllis
comments to Andrew Barbano
They will remain permanently posted here.
March 19, 2009
Phyllis touched my life in so many ways - "extra mom", piano
teacher, friend, and most important, example. I have thought of her
often throughout my adulthood and can only hope that I am half the person
she was. Thank you for sharing your mom with me.
Diane McCollum (Gibson) (Las Vegas, NV)
March 10, 2009
Phyllis Kaiser was a very loyal and compassionate woman who was committed
to human service. It was my honor and priviledge to have known her. She
was a true role model.
Kate O'Donnell (Reno, NV)
March 5, 2009
Mrs.Kaiser helped many Vietnamese families settled down in this area when
they first set foot in in America. We deeply appreciate what she had done
for us. She was a great friend and supporter of our Vietnamese community
here. Our heartfelt condolences are with amazing woman's family. Mrs.Kaiser's
warm personality, kindness and compassion are with us forever. I think
all of the Vietnamese who heard this news will be at her funeral service
Thaison Dao (Sparks, NV)
Mrs. Kaiser was my piano teacher. She taught me to read music and love
all types of music from folk to classical.
A special treat I will never forget was when she took me to the church
were she played the organ for a wedding. As a little girl it was my first
exposure to a formal wedding. Sitting with Mrs. Kaiser in the organ area
I dream't of the day she could play for my wedding.
The years came and went. I would see her now and then. She always seemed
happy to see me and I was happy to see her.
A strong women who was kind, gentle, and loving. A real role model. A
With love in my heart for this wonderful women. Mrs. Kaiser will truly
be missed and will not be forgotten.
Moser (Sparks, NV)
March 3, 2009
Phillip, What little
I knew of your mom during my youth, I will never forget. She was always
the nicest and warm person. Truly full of grace.
May her countless
acts of kindness carry her soul to the places we only dream of.
Ron Kozloski (Ripon, CA)
Phyllis Baker Kaiser, you added amazing depth to my life. You will always
rest in my heart. We shared so much FUN together at the Court at Reno.
I love you. I will always remember you. I appreciate all of your family
and I am sending all my good will to you all as well. Thank-you.
Jennifer Kopplin (Sparks, NV)
March 3, 2009
My heartfelt condolences to the whole family of this remarkable woman.
I knew her through her activities with several of the groups mentioned.
She was one of the truly great people of Nevada.
Margaret Rockenbeck (Redmond, WA)