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In Memory

Phyllis Vera Schynert (Koch) - Class Of 1939




                                          PHYLLIS VERA (nee Schynert) KOCH      

Jan. 21, 1922 – Dec. 13, 2017

Residence: Palo Alto, California


Phyllis Vera Koch, 95 of Palo Alto, California passed away on Dec. 13, 2017 in her home, surrounded by her family.

Phyllis was born in San Francisco to Reva and Albert Schynert. Her younger brother Irving passed away in 2003.

When Phyllis was 10 years old, the family moved to Palo Alto, which was considered “the country.” They lived in Barron Park and had a chicken and goat ranch. She attended Mayfield School and Palo Alto High School. Phyllis began drawing as a child and went on to attend San Jose State—the only college in the area offering commercial art in advertising. Two days after graduation she began her first job sketching ads in newspapers and magazines.

That same summer she met the love of her life — Harvey Nathaniel Koch — a young soldier stationed at Stanford for Military Language and Intelligence training. Three months later they were married—a wonderful marriage that lasted 50 years until Harvey passed in 1993.

Following the war they spent two years in New York while Harvey completed his law degree, and their first child was born. They both loved California, and Phyllis was thrilled to return and be close to her family. Over the next few years they had two more children.  In addition to raising her three children in Palo Alto and later Los Altos Hills, she continued her love of art by participating in weekly oil painting classes for over 40 years. She also illustrated numerous brochures, programs, posters and cookbooks for the many organizations with which she was active.

Phyllis’ love of music started as a young girl when she played piano for school assemblies and continued throughout her life. She loved attending the San Francisco Symphony and attended a performance just two weeks before her death.

Phyllis was a founding member of Sequoia Hadassah, Congregation Kol Emeth and active at Congregation Beth Am where she remained a member for more than 60 years. She served on the Board of the Palo Alto JCC and was a loyal supporter throughout her life. She also participated in many activities as a member and lifetime supporter of the Jewish Community Federation.

Life at the Vi in Palo Alto turned out to provide Phyllis with an extremely active, fulfilling and fun atmosphere to live in during the last 12 years of her life. She was able to express her talents while providing enjoyment to the many friends she made there. She also continued her love of gardening, maintaining a vegetable and flower gardens. Sunday afternoons were spent at the piano playing for group sing-alongs. Her baked goodies were a big hit amongst her friends.

Phyllis’ life was deeply intertwined with her family—they traveled, played games, shared holidays, and just enjoyed each other’s company. She is survived by her three children: Andrea, Lizbeth (Harold), and Joel (Sharon). Grandchildren: Sydnee (Craig), Brandon, Jesse (Jessica), Joshua (Aki), Jessica (Thao), Melissa, Andrew, and Heather (Todd). Great-Grandchildren: Brynn Harlow, Chase James, Jasmine Bailey, Madison Rose, and Cameron Harvey.

A private service was held for Phyllis on Dec. 18 at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park. Donations can be sent to Congregation Beth Am—Phyllis Koch Music and Art Fund.