Phyllis Sinks

Obituary of Phyllis Naomi Gardiner Sinks

Phyllis Naomi Gardiner Sinks January 28, 1923–December 25, 2019 Phyllis was born in Detroit, Michigan to Daniel Earl Gardiner and Dorothy Minnie Gardiner, née Mehlman, and grew up in and around New York City, graduating from Mamaroneck High School in 1940. She took major responsibility for her younger brother, Daniel Jr (“Bud”), as her father worked hard through the Great Depression and her mother was often ill. Phyl was active in the Girl Scout Mariners and enjoyed sailing on the Long Island Sound with her brother on the 21-foot Bali Hai. In 1944, Phyl received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Michigan with a major in History and minors in Psychology and Economics. As a young adult, she returned to New York City and worked and lived on Madison Avenue. She was a Research Analyst at Benton and Bowles Advertising Agency for 10 years. She enjoyed spending summers on Long Island, winters skiing at Stowe, and taking road trips anywhere with her baby blue Ford. In 1954, Phyl spent 3 months traveling across Europe. She met Robert (“Bob”) Marshall Sinks under the clock at the Biltmore on a first date set up by friends. The two were married in 1956 and moved to Edina, Minnesota where Bob continued his career in the Bell System as Chief Engineer. Phyl was an active volunteer and board member of the Northwestern Hospital Auxiliary, the American Association of University Women, and in the Minneapolis Public Schools as president of WISE/ GISE—Women/Guys in Service to Education, a volunteer corps helping struggling underprivileged students. Phyl and Bob’s children, Rod and Ann, were born in 1957 and 1959, and she shared her love of skiing and sailing with the family, and passions for custom home design, bridge, golf and investing with Bob. In 1977, Bob was transferred to Omaha, where Phyl served as a board member and committee chair of the Assistance League. After Bob’s death in 1981, Phyl moved back to the Minneapolis area, where she rejoined AAUW, became an active member of the Minneapolis Women’s Club, joined the Mother Bear Project knitting dolls to be sent to children in developing countries, and distributed premiums on behalf of local charities at Minnesota Twins games. As a single empty nester with a love of travel, Phyl became a travel agent, which afforded her an opportunity to travel widely—to 49 states and 100 countries on all 7 continents. Travel highlights included trips to South Africa and Namibia, Antarctica (in her 80s), and a 4 week vacation across Europe with both her children in 2018. She enjoyed annual hiatuses from Minnesota winters in Sarasota, Florida for most of the last 60 years, visiting her parents who retired there and sharing the joys of the ocean with her children and grandchildren. In recent years, she focused on visiting her children and their families in California and Toronto, her grandchildren at their respective universities and other friends and family. Phyl held a big celebration of her life after her 95th birthday in August 2018. In June 2019, she left her beloved friends and community in Edina, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie and moved to a retirement home in Cupertino, California to be close to family. There she enjoyed many trips to the beach and time with all of her children and grandchildren. Phyl’s health declined in the fall after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she passed away peacefully on December 25. At her request, she will have a private burial alongside Bob and the family will host an open house in Minnesota. Phyl is survived by her son and daughter in-law Rod & Britta Sinks of Cupertino, California, and their children Mark and Kristina, and by her daughter and son in-law Ann & Jerry Agar of Toronto, Canada, and their children Tanner, Cooper and Kaelin. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in her name to the Rotary Club of Cupertino Permanent Endowment Fund (a non-profit supporting international & domestic projects) at or to a charity of your choice.
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