Obituary: Phyllis Eschleman

Loving wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and teacher

Phyllis Eschleman, a longtime Claremont resident, died June 10 at the age of 77. She is survived by her husband, Mike; children Tom, Karen, David, Kristen, and Kevin; and grandchildren Brayden, Morgan, Evie, Micah, and Kaden.

She was born in Chicago on August 31, 1946, and moved to Columbus, Ohio when she was 12, along with her three siblings, Arlene, Glenn, and Nancy. Her mother, Bernice, was a wonderful homemaker and volunteered extensively at her church. Her father, Darwin, was a professional saxophone player and then an engineer for AT&T. As an adult, Phyllis always enjoyed reminiscing about her mother’s great faith and found joy in preserving her father’s various memorabilia collections. She also loved developing relationships with her nieces and nephews, while working with her brother and sisters to create memorable family reunions.

As a teenager, she played the clarinet and perfected her exquisite penmanship before attending The Ohio State University on an academic scholarship. At OSU, she was an officer in Block O, the official student cheering section for Buckeye football games, and for the rest of her life she was known to scream at televisions on Saturdays every fall. She proudly graduated with a degree in education and a minor in art, and she enjoyed painting watercolor portraits into her later years.

While in college, she also met her future husband of 55 years, Mike Eschleman. Her family shared, “Phyllis often spoke of their immediate connection and how she felt that she could do anything with Mike by her side.” The couple married in the spring of 1969 and quickly started a family. In 1975, they moved to Claremont, where they resided for 48 years. As enthusiastic supporters of countless youth sports teams and various Claremont High booster clubs, she especially valued the many close friendships she made throughout the community.

“As a mother, she created a welcoming home where the neighborhood kids would often gather to swim in their pool, make crafts, or play sports in the back yard,” her family said. “Phyllis was popular among her children’s friends, as she was the mom with the station wagon that would drive everyone to the beach for the day, or take them on a camping adventure for a week.”

In 1992, she earned a master’s degree in education from Cal Poly Pomona and taught elementary school for more than 16 years. “She would light up the most when working with kids, and some of her fondest memories were as a second grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary School, in Pomona,” her family added. “She loved being an educator and believed that every child had a special gift to share with the world. In her later years, her true joy was sharing time with her five grandchildren and teaching them the history of her family keepsakes.”

Over the years, she also enjoyed volunteering at Claremont’s Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. As a devout Catholic, she found great strength in her Bible study group, the Fellowship of Catholic Christian Women. Her family shared that, “Phyllis lived every day with the belief that God does not send you more than you can handle.”

A celebration of life Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 28 at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 435 Berkeley Ave., Claremont 91711.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the American Lung Association at


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