Cover photo for Phyllis J. (Knudtson)  Keca's Obituary
Phyllis J. (Knudtson)  Keca Profile Photo
1926 Phyllis 2023

Phyllis J. (Knudtson) Keca

June 24, 1926 — September 16, 2023

Phyllis June Keca nee Knudtson, beloved daughter of the late John Knudltson ,and Angela Likovic Knudtson, passed away peacefully at her home with her children and caregivers by her side on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at the age of 97. Her remarkable life was a testament to her unwavering love, boundless compassion, and enduring faith in Jesus Christ.

Phyllis was a beacon of love and kindness, touching the lives of countless individuals through her dedication to building relationships and radiating the love of Jesus in every aspect of her life.

She was an active and cherished member of various organizations and activities, leaving an indelible mark on all she encountered. Phyllis was a charter member of the "R" Club, where she found joy in gathering with fellow women for 50 years at Merichka's, sharing dinners and fostering cherished friendships. She was also a 40-year member of the Canasta Club, where lasting memories were created, problems solved, and lifelong bonds formed during their Tuesday gatherings.

Her commitment to the community extended to her membership in the Senior Services Center, the crochet group, St. Joseph's Friday Prayer Shawl Group, Sacred Heart Church, Stone City Post #2199 Auxiliary, and Santa's Helpers. Phyllis gave selflessly of her time, energy, and resources, exemplifying the spirit of service.

Phyllis dedicated years of her life as a secretary at Joliet East High School and Joliet West High School, where her warm smile and caring demeanor left a lasting impact on students and colleagues alike. She was also an active participant in Operation Care Package, creating crocheted and knitted hats for active-duty soldiers, embodying her dedication to those who served.

One of Phyllis's most cherished roles was her lifelong membership in the Al-Anon Family Group, where she offered solace and support to countless individuals. Over the years, she ministered to hundreds, sharing her strength, hope, and love. These were attributes she learned at a young age while living at The Guardian Angel Home due to her mother’s early passing when Phyllis was only 10 years old.

Phyllis's culinary talents were legendary. She was renowned for her delicious cookies and cakes, which she generously shared with family, friends, postal workers, and anyone fortunate enough to cross her path. She found joy in baking and knew that sharing her creations was a simple yet meaningful way to spread happiness.

In her leisure time, Phyllis enjoyed reading the morning Herald News and tackling the daily crossword puzzles and cutting out the Chicago Cubs game schedule. Win or lose, she watched her Cubbies faithfully and was their #1 fan. Her nimble fingers also crafted afghans and lap robes, gifts of warmth and love for friends, family, and those in need through Santa's Helpers.

Phyllis had a competitive spirit and relished playing poker with her sisters and card games like pinochle and rummy with her children and grandchildren. Her laughter and enthusiasm filled the room during these cherished moments.

Phyllis's generous heart extended to annual food drives, where she lent her support to provide sustenance for those in need. Her commitment to serving her community knew no bounds.

Phyllis June Keca will be dearly missed but remembered with gratitude for the countless lives she touched and the love she shared. Her legacy of kindness, compassion, and service will continue to inspire us all.

May her soul find eternal peace and rest in the embrace of her Lord, whom she served so faithfully.

She is now reunited with those who preceded her in death: her beloved husband, John Joseph Keca, who passed away on September 17, 1996, her parents, Angela Likovic and John Knudtson, her stepmother, Grace Marie Knudtson, her beloved sister, Annabelle Knudtson Freberg, her little brother, Jackie Knudtson, and numerous dear friends.

She is survived by a legacy of love that will forever be cherished by her children: Robert John (Linda James) Keca, Deborah J. (R. David) Samson, and Barbara J. (Dwayne Allen) Hendrickson.

Phyllis was not just a mother but a guiding star in her children's lives, teaching them the values of love, faith, and service. Her love and wisdom will continue to inspire and guide them through life's journey.

Phyllis was also a proud and loving grandmother to Janine Lynn (Chris) Wange, Dr. Melissa Nicole (Dr. Justin) Kwak, Robert Walter (Heather) Keca, Dr. Samantha (Phil) Mathews, Gina Marie (Josh) Levine, Jonathan David (Holly) Samson, Jordan Micah Hendrickson, and Joel David Hendrickson. Her warmth and affection touched each of their lives in unique and special ways.

Her great-grandchildren, Killian Levine, Crosby Levine, Clio Levine, Ian Lion, Leland Lion, Liam Wange, Haley Wange, Sophia Mathews, and Parker Mathews brought boundless joy to her heart.

Phyllis is also survived by her beloved sisters, Doris Kaps and Joan Middaugh. Their unbreakable bond was a source of strength and support throughout their lives.

As we remember and celebrate Phyllis's life, we are reminded of the love and joy she brought to her family. Her legacy is one of love, compassion, and unwavering faith in her beloved Jesus. Her memory will forever be a source of comfort and inspiration.

A celebration of Phyllis’s life will begin with a visitation on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at Tezak Funeral Home, 1211 Plainfield Road, Joliet from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The family invites relatives and friends to gather on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at the funeral home where the procession will depart at 9:30 am for a funeral mass at 10:00 am at St Joseph's Catholic Church, 416 N. Chicago St. with burial to follow at St Joseph Cemetery in Joliet.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St Joseph’s church at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Phyllis J. (Knudtson) Keca, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Tezak's Home to Celebrate Life

1211 Plainfield Road, Joliet, IL 60435

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Funeral Procession

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Starts at 9:30 am (Central time)

Tezak's Home to Celebrate Life

1211 Plainfield Road, Joliet, IL 60435

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Joseph Catholic Church (Chicago Street, Joliet)

4821 South Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60609


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