Phyllis Annette (Nelson) Tangney, 86, passed away on Thursday, January 19, 2023, at
Heritage Court in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Phyllis was born on November 18, 1936, to Andrew and Laura Leona (Rickey) Nelson in
Elroy, Wisconsin. She was united in marriage to Patrick Tangney, the love of her life and
best friend, on June 13,1959, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, also in Elroy.
Phyllis, always a song in her heart and a dance in her step, was one of 14 children. She
graduated from Elroy High School in 1954 where she was a cheerleader and head
majorette, highlights of her high school years. Following graduation, she enrolled in
Wisconsin State College at LaCrosse earning teaching degrees in physical education and
history. Many former students praised her exceptional teaching style. She even received a
standing ovation at Hillsboro while being introduced at a school assembly.
Her main focus in life, though, was her family as she and Pat raised their five children in
Hillsboro and then lived their retirement years in Black River Falls. Together they enjoyed
bridge and golf. Phyllis had a special love for B-I-N-G-O. Family gatherings required BINGO
She preferred attention not be directed at her, but her grandchildren enjoyed, when
prompted by Grandpa at the count of three to say, “Hi, pretty grandma!” In conversations
about Phyllis, one often heard the words, classy, competitive, committed, kind, and devoted.
She was a constant presence at her children’s and grandchildren’s many special life events
and activities. Her legacy will live on through generations to come.
Survivors include her children, Terri (Gerry) Fanta, Kris (Dave) Roou, Andi (Dan) Burns,
Kelli (Jonathan) Williams, and Patrick (Scott) Tangney. She is further survived by 17
grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren: Meghan (James) Fanta-Gray, Allison (John)
Pawielski, Ellie (Sam) Leapalt, Katie (Wyatt) Brown, Jack Roou, Erin Roou, Addi (Eric)
Compton, Courtney Fanta, Claire Burns, Caleb Williams, Josi Williams, Maggie Roou,
Rachel Burns, Lili Williams, Mike Roou, Patrick Burns, and Hazel Tangney; great
grandchildren: Greta Pawielski, Bennett Pawielski, Rory Brown, and Charles Gray.
Others surviving Phyllis are her sister, Shirley (Frank) Thomas and brothers, Gordon (Sally)
Nelson, Larry (Mary Jane) Nelson, and Ricky Nelson, sisters-in-law, Silvia Nelson and
Oneta Nelson, brother-in-law, Chuck Swartz, and many nephews and neices.
Her in-laws: Alice Leszczynski, Cathie Schroeder-Duerst, Jerome (Nancy) Tangney,
Bernard (Linda) Tangney, Francis (Alice) Tangney, and Bill Tangney. Again, survived by
many nephews and neices.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Gerald, Gene, Ross, Robert (Bobby),
William (Billy), Dale and Keith, and sisters, Joyce Nelson and Judy Swartz; brothers-in-law,
Dan Leszczynski, Ed Duerst, and sisters-in-law, Dorothy Nelson, Virginia Nelson, and Kathy
On Monday, January 23, 2023, there will be a visitation at the Torgerson Funeral Home,
408 N. Water Street in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Black River Falls
on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, beginning at 11:00 AM with a visitation from 10:00 – 11:00
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
This disease took Phyllis from us and we hope and pray a cure is in sight.
The family would like to express their thanks to Beth Wood, Suzie Amo, and Sandy Flick,
who took such good care of Phyllis these last few years.