Phyllis Albrecht Costanti
(Phyllis Albrecht, Phyllis Hardie, Phyllis Costanti)
Phyllis Mae Albrecht was born on February 11, 1931 in Berthoud, Colorado to Walter and Pearl Albrecht. They were both from large families, and she had nearly two dozen aunts and uncles. She graduated from Berthoud High School in 1949. While attending the Western Washington College of Education (now WWU) in Bellingham, WA, she fell in love with Mark A. Hardie, III, and after they graduated in 1953, they married, and he went to Korea with the Army during postwar occupation, and she began teaching in Bellevue, WA. When they reunited, they took a “teaching couples” position in the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, and while there, they welcomed Mark IV in 1957 and Michael in 1958. In 1961 they bought a home in Mt. Vernon, WA, and they both got teaching jobs.
Phyllis taught third Grade at Washington Elementary School in Mt. Vernon for 10 years. After divorcing in 1967, she struggled as a single Mom, with a full-time job, but still did a fine job of raising her two boys. She loved road trips, which she called “gypsy-ing” (“eat when we’re hungry, sleep when we’re tired”), in her ’61 VW camper van, roaming around the countryside—one such trip included going to San Francisco, and ‘accidentally’ ending up at Disneyland. She also shared her love of the mountains and the great outdoors with her boys, hiking and camping on weekends and vacations in the Cascades and Olympic mountains. She was active in the Skagit Alpine Club, Mountaineers’ Club, Komo Kulshan Ski Club and the Mt. Baker Ski Patrol, where she was the named “Patrolman of the Year” in 1971. Her lifelong love of mountains led to her “summitting” Mt. Baker (twice), Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood, and Mt. Rainier, the highest point in Washington, where climbers train to develop the technical skills required for climbing peaks like Everest. She loved to tell the story about the time she and Mark IV witnessed thunder and lightning at Park Butte Lookout near Mt. Baker, and seeing a full circle rainbow, extremely unusual and only visible from over 5000 ft. altitude.
Also in 1971, the three moved to the Upper Skagit Valley, and where she had accepted a position with Seattle City Light, teaching the children of hydroelectric dam operations families. This prepared her for becoming the teacher in a one room schoolhouse in remote Glenyre, CO, in 1974.
Later, she moved to Lincoln, NE, where she completed her Master’s Degree in Education in 1978. It was at this time she began working on the Decennial Census with the US Census Bureau. Decennial operations are temporary positions to count everyone in the country, every ten years, to calculate congressional representation. She would return to the Census Bureau every 10 years. Over 40 years, she worked in the office, knocking on doors as an enumerator, crew leader and trainer for field staff.
In 1980 she returned to her beloved Skagit Valley and her long-time friendship with James D. Costanti blossomed into a deep love and respect for each other, and they were soon married, and they lived in Jim’s home in Edison, WA. They enjoyed life as “snowbirds”, traveling to
Arizona each winter in their motorhome. Jim had a large family, which included his beloved sister “Tiny” and an assortment of cousins, aunts and uncles, as well as three adult children, Diane, Leanne and Dan, and eight grandchildren. They all welcomed Phyllis as “Nuna”, and they brought a richness of family into her life that she cherished and maintained until the present time, though we sadly lost Jim in 1990, at the age of 84.
While Phyllis’s son Michael was in Germany, his daughter, Diana, was born in 1979. Though Michael had fallen out of touch with Diana, Phyllis had maintained a loving connection with her granddaughter in Germany and was able to help the two reconnect, and Diana visited in 2016 with great-grandson, Ben.
Phyllis was also the very image of a loving “Gramma” to Michael’s two children who were born in Bellingham, WA, Alex (1987) and Avery (1992), and cherished the times she was able to spend with them, and went to great lengths to make such times possible.
She continued to enjoy life in Edison, active in the Bethany Covenant Church, the Skagit Literacy Council and the P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations. Phyllis was a member for over 70 years. She also did disaster relief work for the American Red Cross for over 40 years.
In 1998, Phyllis moved to Fort Collins, CO to support her mother, Pearl. She eventually moved in and assisted her mother until she passed away in 2002.
In 2003, Phyllis bought a home in Sequim, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. She had pined for a home near Sequim for over 30 years, and when her dream finally came true, she thoroughly enjoyed living there for 9 years. However, in 2012, She came to the realization that her three-bedroom home was too much for her to take care of, and she moved to Argus Manor Apartments in Puyallup, WA, to be closer to her son Michael and his wife Marianne.
Among her favorite things about living in Puyallup was being able to go a short drive in her Hoverround chair and see “her mountain” (Mt. Rainier), and reminisce about a clear day in the late 60’s she stood on the summit.
She was born before the invention of the parking meter, but she enjoyed all the technological advances which came to pass, and she was adept with the internet, email, cell phones, texting and Facebook. She was outgoing and enjoyed talking with people, and was extremely articulate and interesting, to the end.
Phyllis was an only child, but with 22 aunts and uncles, she had a LOT of cousins. In addition, her “blended family” included many stepchildren, and she treated all like blood relatives. She is survived by her sons, Mark IV, and Michael, and Jim’s adult children Diane, Leanne and Dan treated her like family. As a result, Phyllis loved almost 40 grandchildren, and several greatgrandchildren, with at least one more on the way.
As we in her family mourn her loss, we also take comfort that she is now with those who preceded her, including her mother, father, and beloved Jim.
As she wished, she was cremated, and there will be no viewing. Condolences are welcome, but as an alternative to flowers, please consider a donation to one of her favorite charities -- see the websites below.
There will be a Celebration of Life honoring Phyllis
on Sunday, July 12, 2020, from 2-6 pm, at the
Edison Bow Fire Department
14304 W. Bow Hill Rd.
Bow, WA 98232
Edison is in Skagit Valley, in northern Washington, where she lived most of her life.
If you would like to receive a notification/reminder, please drop a note to email@example.com. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Phyllis’s life.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of her favorite charitable organizations:
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Puyallup, https://www.fccpuyallup.com/
The American Red Cross, https://www.redcross.org
There was a memorial reception on Monday, January 20, 2020, the First Christian Church, 623 9th Ave. SW, Puyallup, WA attended by many of those who knew her during her last years.
Condolences can be submitted to her obituary tribute webpage at https://www.emmickfunerals.com/obituary/Phyllis-Costanti or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark and Michael deeply apologize for any important details which we missed. In our defense, the full story of her life would take 88 years to tell, and we were there for about 60 years’ worth.
The family would like to thank all those who cared for her during the last several years of her life, as her health was declining. They are too numerous to mention all, but in particular, Lori and Onie.
Please share memories & condolences with Phyllis' Family on her Tribute Wall, located above.
- Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Seattle, Washington -
To send flowers to Phyllis' family, please visit our floral section.