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1931 Phyllis 2023

Phyllis Tanner Ruppel

May 27, 1931 — July 12, 2023

Phyllis “Phyl” Tanner Ruppel of Twin Bridges, Montana, died at home on July 12, 2023 after a long illness. She was 92 years old.

Phyl was born in Highland Park, Illinois, May 27, 1931, to Arvid and Ouida Tanner. After spending the first 13 years of her life in the Chicago suburb, Phyl, her mother, and brother, John, moved to Walla Walla, Washington, where Ouida later married Arthur Fleenor. She graduated from Walla Walla High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Washington State College in Pullman. Phyl went on to study at Washington University Medical Center, graduating in 1954 with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She completed several internships and accepted a position at Spokane Cerebral Palsy School.

Shortly after moving to Spokane, Phyl’s landlady, Mrs. “Jeffy” Jefferson, introduced her to Edward T. Ruppel, a geologist from Montana working for the United States Geological Survey. They were married in Walla Walla by Phyl’s grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Tanner on June 17, 1956. The couple moved to Washington, DC in 1958, Lakewood, Colorado in 1960, Evergreen, Colorado in 1970, and Butte, Montana in 1986 before retiring to Twin Bridges, Ed’s hometown, in 1994. The couple spent their summers in remote locations in Idaho and Montana, where they’d travel with their children to accommodate Ed’s mapping projects. They were married for 58 years; Edward passed away June 27, 2014.

Phyl was a classically trained singer and loved music in every form. She sang in or led the choir in every church that she attended, and acted and sang in community plays. Even as she began to develop health problems, she was most happy listening to and counting time with classical vocal artists, especially Pavarotti.

Above all, Phyl cherished being a wife and mother. She is survived by: Her daughter, Lisa (Joel) Benenson; granddaughter Anya (Ben) Fontaine, and great granddaughter Beatrice; grandson Will (Becca) Benenson, and great grandson Asher; Phyllis’ son, David (Jill) Ruppel, grandson Zach (Katie) Ruppel, great grandson Boone, and great granddaughters Lila, Birdie, and Tanner; granddaughter Alexa (Brian) Carpenter, and great grandsons Cooper, Ronan, and Maclan; granddaughter Madison Ruppel; and grandson Frank (Delaney) Ruppel. Phyllis’ son Douglas (Sandy) Ruppel, grandson Jacob Ruppel, granddaughter Jessica (Ryder) Locke, and great grandson Royce. Phyllis’ daughter Kristin (Jack) Waller, and granddaughter Ruby. Phyl is also survived by her sister-in-law Barbara (Joseph) Carlisle, her brother-in-law Robert Ruppel, and her brother John (Lana) Tanner.

Phyl will be laid to rest next to the love of her life, Edward, at the Twin Bridges Cemetery on August 4th at 9 AM. All are welcome at the graveside service followed by an open house at her home. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Kid Country Daycare or the Helping Hand Food Pantry, both in Twin Bridges.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, August 4, 2023

Starts at 9:00 am (Mountain time)

Twin Bridges Cemetery

Airport Road, MT 59754

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