Phyllis Joan Prahl was born to Henry Albert Prahl and Margaret Louise (Heruth) Prahl on January 21, 1935, in Princeton. She was baptized on February 4, 1935, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Princeton. Phyllis was also confirmed on Palm Sunday, March 21, 1948, at Immanuel Lutheran Church. She attended District Three West through the eighth grade and graduated on June 23, 1948. Phyllis completed her education at Princeton High School and graduated on May 29, 1952. Her graduation picture was taken in front of the chicken house where the family was living while they were building a new house on the farm.
Growing up on the farm you could find Phyllis working with her dad in the barn taking care of the animals, in the fields driving the horses, and later on driving the tractor. She told stories of bringing the cows up to the barn from the pasture and playing in the stream that ran through the pasture and of the time when the horses ran away out of control when she was raking hay behind the chicken house.
After graduation Phyllis went to the Twin Cities to work in the banking industry as a teller. She eventually moved back home to Princeton and worked for Princeton State Bank. During a night out with friends at the Kitten Club, she met Joseph Kissner. After a whirlwind courtship they were married in a beautiful candlelight service on September 10, 1960. Two months later they purchased a farm a half mile from the farm Phyllis had grown up on, and there they would spend their married life together.
Phyllis and Joe were blessed with the birth of Joan Kay on April 5, 1961. Janice Marie entered the world on April 23, 1965, for a few short hours, and their hearts were broken when she entered Heaven’s Gates.
Phyllis had a work ethic that was hard to beat. Her day would start in the barn milking cows and cleaning the barn. After chores she would head into the house to make breakfast, clean house, wash clothes, and prepare the food for the day’s meals. Then Phyllis would head back outside. Her day might include working in the garden, mowing lawn (which if all done at once took eight hours), working in the fields and unloading hay or straw bales. At 5:00 p.m. it was time to head to the barn for the evening chores. When chores were done, sometimes there was more lawn to be mowed before heading into the house. Phyllis would then wash up, change clothes, and sleep for an hour or two before heading to ECM Publishing in Priceton to work the night shift. When her shift ended in the morning, she headed home and back to the barn to start a new day.
Phyllis had a love for animals, but cats were her favorite. When she moved to McIntosh she had one cat, Tommy. Tommy made the move to join Joan on the farm. The love of cats has been passed down, especially to her granddaughter, Samantha. When Samantha moved to Australia, she took the two cats with her she had gotten from the farm.
A part of Phyllis’ heart was taken when Joe died on Monday, March 10, 2008. She continued to live on the farm and take care of it until her health no longer allowed her to do so.
Her limited sight from glaucoma and loss of hearing created challenges, but she managed to work around them. Phyllis loved to watch news programs, The Price is Right, and Wheel of Fortune. She also liked to do word search puzzles. Phyllis had a weather radio that she would check multiple times a day, “you never know when the forecast might change!” If you stopped by for a visit, you would need to be prepared to step into a sauna. The thermostat was unusually set at 80! The grass always needed to be mowed and branches and pine cones picked up, but if it was a little bit windy you could not go outside “because you might blow away.”
The last two years had been a challenge as dementia took control of her mind and body. Phyllis lost her memory of loved ones and the ability to walk and take care of herself, but it was not able to take away her sense of humor or the gleam of mischief in her eyes.
On the evening of Friday, December 2, 2022, as her daughter Joanie held her hands and sang Silent Night to her, Phyllis walked through the Golden Gates of Heaven, once again able to see and hear the voices of her husband, Joseph; daughter, Janice Marie; parents, Henry and Margaret; sister, Joyce; and her other family and friends.
Phyllis has left a hole in the hearts of her daughter, Joan and husband Mark Lee of McIntosh; granddaughter, Rebecca Marie and husband, Keith Kleven of Minneapolis, MN; grandson, Joseph Marvin and wife, Kelly of Chicago, IL; and granddaughter, Samantha Louise and husband Kevin Caron of Sydney, Australia.
Phyllis’ Confirmation Memory Verse: Philippians 1:2, “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”