Cover photo for Brusnahan Phyllis J.'s Obituary
Brusnahan Phyllis J. Profile Photo
1924 Brusnahan 2021

Brusnahan Phyllis J.

June 17, 1924 — October 21, 2021

Preceded in death by her husband, Thomas E. Brusnahan; children, Mary Frances Brusnahan, Robert Brusnahan and Brian Brusnahan; sisters, Loy Teter, Joan Bordeaux and Mary Lois Tolin. Survived by her children, Thomas Brusnahan, Michael (Sharon) Brusnahan, Patrick Brusnahan, Anne (The Honorable Curtis) Maschman, and Elizabeth (Jim Rowland) Brusnahan; grandchildren, Katie Feldman, Matthew Brusnahan, Amanda Brusnahan, John Maschman, Joe Maschman, Julia Rowland, Alex Rowland, Rosemary Brusnahan and Violet Brusnahan; great-grandsons, Otis Sumsky and Weiler Feldman.

Phyllis June Teter was born in Cambridge, Nebraska, to Edith and John Teter, June 1924. She and her three sisters, Loy (Marcia), Joan, and Mary Lois, grew up as farm girls. However, their father had a strict rule for his daughters – NO MILKING OF THE COWS! He would not have the girls developing muscular, calloused hands. Instead, they helped deliver milk every morning, running from truck to house, bottles under arm, while Dad, “Jack”, drove down the middle of the street. And in the fall, they helped folks drive to the back field apple orchard, riding the running boards or fenders to open and close the gates. Remember, it was the thirties.

Family life took a turn in June 1935 when the Republican River flooded. Jack and Edith moved the family to farm near Holbrook.

After graduating from Holbrook High School in 1941, Phyllis taught school for a year. That same one-room school house has been moved to a park on the east side of Cambridge, and can be seen from Hwy 6/34.

These were the war years, and Phyllis’ sister Joan said, “Phyll, come on up to Michigan. You can earn more money working in a factory.” And, seeing as how they had family up there, on to Battle Creek she went. We still have mementos from that experience – two aircraft engine valves, ground, polished, and boxed up, ready to go.

But her older sisters had enlisted, and so would she. Once she turned 20, this farm girl signed up for the WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, and it was off to Hunter College, the Bronx, New York, for basic training. There followed her duty assignment – the Navy Supply Depot in Mechanicsburg, PA. And she met a life-long friend and mentor, Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Tansil.

After the war, Phyllis enrolled at Towson State Teachers college where Rebecca was Registrar. Just outside Baltimore, MD, to hear Phyllis speak of those years, you wondered if school was the point – attend a midshipman’s ball at the Naval Academy, take the train to New York to see theater shows, etc.

Things took a turn in 1947 when Phyllis learned her dad was terminally ill. She returned to Nebraska to be close at hand, enrolling at the university (Nebraska, of course). Evidently, she did study because she graduated in May, 1950. But a year earlier she met a handsome boy of Irish extraction, Thomas Brusnahan, and married him in August, 1950. It was the dancing, we were told.

One year later, Phyllis gave birth to son, Tom, Jr., affectionately called Tommy (to this day). And the hits just kept on coming, culminating with the birth of Elizabeth in 1962. Sadly, three children succumbed to cystic fibrosis, Mary, Bobby, and Brian. “They were such joys!”, declared Phyllis when reminiscing years later. “Oh, they each had personalities, especially Brian. One time he stood up to your father, this little three-year-old, refusing to hand over the pack of chewing gum, just letting it drop to the floor. Oh, it was a sight!”

The years raising a family included trips to her mom’s farm outside Wolbach, Nebraska. There was a train trip to California in 1965, including a day at Disneyland! And trip by car to Washington, D.C. with a side trip to visit Rebecca, plus relatives in Delaware

. Then the ski trips with friends to Colorado. And Rome to see the Pope, plus the Holy Land, a trip to the old Sod (Ireland), and don’t forget Germany. Phyllis was close to her cousin Maugy, so that meant numerous visits to Mazatlán, Mexico. Alaska got it’s turn, too. Bermuda was in there someplace. And the 1964 New York World’s Fair, don’t forget.

But do not get in the way of Phyllis and Tom when there was a football game in Lincoln, no sirree. They had tickets starting when Devaney was hired, 1962. And parked across the tracks in a North Bottoms garage, first paying the owner, then his son as the years passed.

For Phyllis, the five kids grew up, moved out of the house. The teen-line was retired. A couple more years later weddings were held, then grandchildren arrived.

Travel defined life for Phyllis and Tom. Georgia to see Mike and family, California to see Elizabeth and Jim. Many trips to Kansas City to sample what Tommy had cooked up. And Humboldt, Nebraska, to stay the weekend with Anne and Curt, and attend the Richardson County Fair. And, as the years, passed, high school graduations, then college graduations.

In 2015 Tom passed away, and Phyllis was by herself reading books and watching college basketball in the house on 106th Street. “I don’t want to spend another cold winter alone in this house”, she declared. Phyllis was a declarative person. And in September, 2016, 51 years after moving in, Phyllis left 106th Street for New Castle Retirement Center. She stayed healthy walking the “two football fields” from her apartment to the dining room. And if you accompanied her on these strolls, she may have turned to you and said, “If I ever fall down, I’m a dead duck!”

In 2019 she fell down. Twice. First the wrist, not so bad. She could still do the football fields. But the second fall was the other hip. This meant surgery. And after surgery, she required rehabilitation. But the old spark was diminished. The cognitive skills just weren’t there anymore. The decision was made to move Phyllis to the memory support unit of Heritage at Sterling Ridge. We moved her in and she cheerily dismissed us with a broad smile and wave of her hand. Then she walked over to a group of other residents, announcing, “Hi, I’m Phyllis Teter.”

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Monday, 11:30 am at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church with INTERMENT Monday, 2:30 pm in Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Lincoln, NE.

VISITATION with the family begins Sunday, after 2:00pm at the Pacific Street Chapel with a WAKE SERVICE at 3:00pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Nebraska Cystic Fibrosis Foundations.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Brusnahan Phyllis J., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, October 31, 2021

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries - Pacific Street Chapel

14151 Pacific Street, Omaha, NE 68154

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Wake Service

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries - Pacific Street Chapel

14151 Pacific Street, Omaha, NE 68154

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Monday, November 1, 2021

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

Mary Our Queen Catholic Church

3535 South 119th Street, Omaha, NE 68144

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, November 1, 2021

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

Calvary Catholic Cemetery - Lincoln

3880 L Street, Lincoln, NE 68510

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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