Minnie Lee Phillips Pakan was born February 29th, 1924 to Charles Morgan and Nancy Francis Phillips in Decator, Texas. She died January 24th in Amarillo. Minnie married Dusan Pakan on June 29th, 1946 at the Dr. Martin Luther Lutheran Church in the Pakan Community between Shamrock and McLean. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, two older sisters, Jeannette Phillips Ellerd and Movelda Phillips Franks and an older brother, Carl Phillips.
She was a loving and devoted mother of two children, Phyllis Pakan Eagan of San Antonio and Sam Pakan of Amarillo and Shamrock.
Minnie was a lifelong learner, story teller and lover of children. She taught for 38 years in Shamrock, Lela and Pakan schools and was named Region 16 Teacher of the Year in 1991.
Her teaching career began during World War II when, as a third-year student at West Texas State Teachers College, many young men were inducted into the armed forces. The resulting teacher shortage necessitated a waiver of the required bachelor’s degree for teachers. Having graduated high school at age 16, nineteen-year-old Minnie Phillips accepted her first position teaching elementary school students in Lela, Texas. A year later, she accepted a job as school marm for grades one through eight at Pakan School, a few miles west of Lela.
Pakan School had neither running water or indoor toilets, but rancher and school board president, Dusan Pakan, who resided only a half mile away, brought fresh water in milk cans at recess and during lunch break. By Minnie’s second year of teaching, it was noted by many that Dusan began arriving early and frequently remained after recess. A courtship ensued and the two were married a year later.
Minnie went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees taking night classes while teaching, caring for infirm parents, and raising two children, driving them to daily activities. She also provided meals for the family and neighboring ranchers when they came to share the load of cattle working or harvest.
In her final years, she completed a book on the history of the Pakan Community and researched the genealogy of the Pakan and Phillips families. She also spoke often and lovingly of former students.
She is survived by her daughter, Phyllis Eagan, her son and his wife, Sam and Tanya Pakan, one grandson and his wife, Stefan Ruff and Chantal McCabe, and eight great-grandchildren, Molly and Phoebe McCabe, and Mikayla, Megan, Merrick, Graydon, Marcus and Berkeley Tipps.
The family requests memorials be sent to Olivia’s Angels of Amarillo or True Blessings of Canyon.