Phyllis (Kugler) McCosh was born 100 years ago, on September 14, 1920, and died Saturday, October 24, 2020 in the Lakeview Village Rehabilitation Center in Lenexa, Kansas. Her good long life began as a child of John Musselman Kugler and Bertha Burkholder Kugler of rural Abilene.

Some of her best childhood memories were fixing a snack when coming home from school and going to the barn while her Mother milked the cows. She talked of the many scrumptious meals her Mother would fix for large family holiday dinners, a tradition she continued. She also spoke fondly of practicing the piano as a child and especially loved playing hymns.

Phyllis attended East Buckeye grade school, Abilene High School and graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg in 1941 with a degree in music education.

In 1937, she and another young man from the community, LeRoy McCosh, were two of three selected to attend the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. A relationship began that led to their marriage in 1943, with a wedding at her parents’ home at the Kugler farm.

They were married 58 years and had six children: Ron McCosh (Cindy) of Beverly, KS, Patricia King (Gary) of Winfield, KS, Gordon McCosh (Sherryl), of Rockwall, TX, Nancy Wassenberg (Roger) of Shawnee, KS, Dennis McCosh of rural Abilene and Cathy Matlack (Terry) of Shawnee, KS.

Phyllis had 16 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-granddaughters.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband LeRoy in 2002, her parents, her three siblings Harold Kugler, Marie Wick and Laberta Simmons, daughter-in-law Lynn McCosh and grandson Joe McCosh.

Both LeRoy and Phyllis had many accomplishments, honors and awards throughout their lives. Highlights were the Dickinson County Extension Council Appreciation Award and they were also honored with the Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker Award in 1993, giving public recognition for excellence in farming, homemaking and rural citizenship.

Phyllis was honored with the Master Teacher Award from the Chapman School District in 1977.

Music and the piano were Phyllis’ passions. She began giving piano lessons at the age of 16 and continued until she was 80 years of age. She taught elementary music in the Chapman School District at Blue Ridge, Talmage and Upland schools from 1956-1988.

She inspired many “next generation” music teachers who she continued to mentor and stay in touch with over the years. She loved hearing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren play the piano or their instruments and many mini concerts were given to her while she listened with a broad smile.

Phyllis had a strong unshakable faith. She served her community of faith at the Buckeye Church of the Brethren by serving as pianist and organist for 48 years. She had youth choirs, did summer Bible school and encouraged and accompanied many of her students who were ready to share their musical talents with the church community.

She was known for her baking and her cinnamon twists were always one of the first things people would seek out at many church potlucks.

Services will be Saturday, Oct. 31, 11 a.m., at Danner Funeral Home, 501 N. Buckeye Street, Abilene, KS. Due to the pandemic, attendees are encouraged to wear masks. Burial will follow the service at 12:15 pm at the Union-Livingston Cemetery on Indy Road, south of Highway 18 north of Abilene. The service can be viewed online with this link, starting at 11 a.m. at Memorial contributions may be made to the Phyllis McCosh Scholarship Fund for Chapman graduates to pursue a degree in music. Make checks payable to the Irish Foundation, noting the Phyllis McCosh Scholarship Fund and send to The Irish Foundation, P.O. Box 249, Chapman, KS, 67431. Donations can also be left at Danner Funeral Home in Abilene.


Contact Tim Horan at

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