Phyllis A. Milliger Carey
- April 21, 2022
Phyllis Adele Milliger Carey
November 20, 1938 – April 20, 2022
Phyllis, 83, beloved “Gigi”, Grandma and Mom, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at her home in Nemo, Texas.
Visitation and service will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 1 pm and 2 pm respectively at the Wiley Funeral Home, 400 Highway 377 East in Granbury, Texas. In lieu of flowers, Phyllis would prefer donations to be made in her memory to Ranch Hands Rescue in Argyle, Texas at www.ranchhandsrescue.org.
Phyllis was born on November 20, 1938, to Phil and Adele Kothmann Milliger, in Brady, Texas. After Phyllis’ first year, the family moved to Llano and four years later to Houston where she remained for years.
Phyllis received her degree in secondary education in January of 1960 at the University of Texas and began teaching math at a junior high school in Houston. After a while, Phyllis felt the pull of the country and transferred to Katy High School to teach Algebra, her preferred subject. After teaching math to teenagers for over 30 years, Phyllis earned her well-deserved retirement in 1994.
Phyllis developed an early love of horses spending much of her time at the Kothmann-Milliger family ranch at Cedar Mountain in Llano and her Uncle Charles and Aunt Ruth Moss’s property, The Enchanted Rock. It is a little kept secret amongst family members that Phyllis is at her best when alongside her horses. Even when living in suburban Houston, Phyllis kept her faithful Appaloosa, Fury nearby and cared for and rode him often.
In 1961, Phyllis married John Edward Carey in Houston, Texas, and gave birth to their son, Brian Edward Carey, the same year. Their daughter, Michelle Adele Carey, followed in 1969. John and Phyllis parted ways in 1974 and remained friends throughout the subsequent years.
After retiring from teaching, Phyllis helped her parents for many years and eventually pulled up stakes in Houston to move to Liberty Hill in 2001. There, she realized her dream of owning property big enough to house Fury and his sidekick donkey, Libby. After a few years and hoof hindrances, Libby moved to greener pastures and Silver came into Phyllis’ life. Silver was a miniature pony with a gigantic personality, and of course he wasn’t actually silver, but black. Her Corgi, Toby was always by her side as she maintained the new homestead and lived her passion of caring for her equine stablemates.
In 2010, she moved to Copper Canyon to live closer to Michelle and her family. Of course, Fury, Silver and Toby went with her, because she needed chaperones while she tooled around in her bucket list car – a shiny black Toyota pick-up with big knobby tires!
Phyllis loved time with her family, especially the grandkids. She spent her time bouncing around in her pick-up to watch soccer and football games, enjoying time with friends or just shaking her head at whatever crazy stunt the grands were doing, usually at the pool. It’s a wonder she had time for all of that as much as she paid attention to and loved on her horses. One of her favorite activities was teaching others about her love for horses, whether it was showing them how to brush the horses, or “letting” her grandsons haul her horse manure.
A decade later, Phyllis, Michelle and Stuart moved to Nemo for a slower pace of life, and of course the trailer with her horses followed. By this time, Fury and Toby had crossed the rainbow bridge, and Silver had a rambunctious pony playmate named Jasper while Pippa the Pembroke ruled the Carey home. Phyllis especially enjoyed the horse activities at the nearby Expo Center, whether it was a rodeo or a miniature horse show. She also loved the patches of bluebonnets right up the street that reminded her of her childhood in the Hill Country with fields of bluebonnets. Her high points always seemed to include Ivy and Kylan, the two bestest great grandchildren she could have wished for. These two made the neighborhood bluebonnets look great. Gigi gave them “riding lessons” on Silver and Jasper which caused squeals of delight and smiles all around.
When asked for the legacy Phyllis would like to impart to future generations, the answers come quickly – “Love of the land,” “Remembrance of ancestors” and most of all, “love of family,” and don’t forget the bluebonnets growing in her front yard. When asked what her secret to happiness is, Phyllis smiles knowingly, “always remember to be kind to one another.” As for a soundtrack for her legacy, it’s definitely sung by Willie Nelson.
The lessons of life that Phyllis taught her own children, and the ones now being imparted to the generation of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, echo the voices of her parents, Phil and Adele Milliger who pioneered the family values that live on in the story told to each new member.
Phyllis is preceded in death by her parents, Phil and Adele Kothmann Milliger. She is survived by her sister, Sylvia Annette Milliger Spence (Jim), her children Brian Edward Carey (Colleen), Michelle Adele Costello (Stuart Smith), her grandchildren Clayton Carey, Lauren Carey, Brandon Costello (Shelby), Trevor Costello, Jonathan Costello and Tatianna Carey, her step grandchildren McLaurin Smith Alexander and Stuart Smith and her great grandchildren Ivy and Kylan Costello.