Phyllis Lee Sesler

Born in Nashville, Tennessee on March 6, 1943

Departed on November 20, 2020 and resided in Nashville, Tennessee

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On Friday, November 20, 2020 Phyllis Lee Sesler, loving wife and mother of four children, passed away at the age of 77, after a hard-fought battle with lung cancer.

Phyllis was born on March 6, 1943 in Nashville, TN to Merrill and Jeanette (Conn) Phifer. She attended Hillsboro High School, was a cheerleader, sorority member and began her young adult life early. She believed in and took chances on love and was not afraid to live fearlessly. Over 30 years ago she met, fell in love with and married Gary Sesler. Gary has been the steadfast love of her life. She had four children Mac (Jennie) Gayden Jr., Kathryn (Friedrich) Krispin, Kellie (James) Nelson and Karrie (Dave) Shackleford. She was also the proud grandmother of five grandsons, one granddaughter, and three great grandchildren (and we anticipate the birth of two additional great grandchildren by Christmas). She is survived by two sisters, Merrilyn (Douglas) Pegg and Jennifer (Robert) Stockard and four cousins, Joe (Marilyn) Folger, Mary Hardin (Sterling) Walker, Ann Conn Arnold, and Judy Gerhardt. And, her many nieces, nephews and their children brought her great inspiration joy, and laughter.

For over 35 years, Phyllis worked as a Medical Coordinator at Cardiovascular Surgeons (now part of St.Thomas Hospital). She was dedicated and diligent in supporting the doctors and ensuring patients and their families were informed and reassured. She was empathetic and compassionate but also resolute and determined. She was intuitive, understood people and faced adversity with her own unique blend of humor and strength. Her annual family gatherings / vacations to Grayton Beach and Seaside (30A) helped to keep her extended family connected. Unbeknownst to her, she grew into the family matriarch. She was “our person”, quick with an easy laugh, joke or “FaceTime” check-in. She was magnetic, listened for the unspoken words, loved deeply and fought fearlessly for family and friends. She loved animals, (especially her cats), enjoyed gardening and researching family pictures and history. She was very organized and we had fun kidding her about her stockpile of paper products, toothpaste and canned goods (which ironically have become very necessary during these trying times). She will be greatly missed by those lucky enough to have known her.

Please visit Harpeth Hills Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home at to sign the on-line guest book and leave your favorite memories. Given COVID-19 restrictions a small private family service will be held this week and a larger celebration of life ceremony will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers please contribute to Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue; PO Box 210830, Nashville, TN. 37221. Also, in her memory please reach-out to a shut-in family member or friend especially during these the days of isolation.

20 Comments to Phyllis Lee Sesler

  1. Kristin cook(sunshine pegg)
    November 23, 2020 11:16 am

    Aunt Phyllis, there are no words to say how sad I feel, we all feel. You were one of a kind. Funny, out going and always said what was on your mind. Love you so much. Sunshine

    • Pam MacArthur
      November 23, 2020 3:17 pm

      Kelly, my heart aches for you because I know how much you loved your Mother. She was a special lady who loved you greatly. To the rest of the family, May God give you peace and a thankful heart for having such a wonderful Mother.

  2. Kimberly Gayden
    November 23, 2020 11:31 am

    What a full life! She is a shooting star missed by those who shared her light. Love and light to my family.

  3. Judy Johnson Gerhardt
    November 23, 2020 12:12 pm

    This is cousin Judy Celsor Johnson Gerhardt. My most favorite memories go way back to our summer trips to Cumberland Mountain State Park. These were such special times and fellowship. Evenings at the lodge and walking back to our cabins. I am glad in the past few years that even though I have not visited personally with Phyllis Lee we did communicate via phone and shared pictures. Know that y’all are in my thoughts and though not said often enough I do love my family.

  4. Kristie Pegg
    November 23, 2020 1:02 pm

    Aunt Phyllis you were always the life of the party and I loved you so. I am so gonna miss you and all your out spoken ways lol. There will not be a day that goes by that you will not be thought of nor missed. Go fly high with sweet Granny Phifer and I love you and will miss you very much.

  5. Friedrich Krispin
    November 23, 2020 1:06 pm

    My relationship with Phyllis dates back to 1982 when her daughter Kathryn brought me home, as her boyfriend, to share a Thanksgiving weekend. During nearly 38 yrs, Kathryn and I gave her three grandsons whom she loved dearly, one great grandson Jack, whom she adored, and two great grandkids (on the way) that she would have loved meeting. She was a very intelligent woman with a sharp wit. We were always welcome at her house and she loved being visited by the Krispin boys. Our life moved us far from Nashville, which made our visits that much more purposeful and intense. She had a great sense of humor, which I will miss forever. I just hope and wish that she runs into Granny (her mother) wherever she is, as I know, she never stopped missing her.
    Phyllis, please keep watching over us, as you always did, but now from afar.
    Love you, Friedrich

    • Mavis Harrop
      November 23, 2020 6:31 pm

      Phyllis was a neighbor and we often talked about our flower gardens. After the 2010 flood her daughter Kellie became my next door neighbor so often saw Phyllis as she visited with her or when she was on her way to get coffee from Starbucks. She loved her family. My thoughts and prayers are with Gary, Kellie, and all the family. May you feel the Lord’s strength and peace during this time.

  6. Pamela R McDonagh
    November 23, 2020 3:15 pm

    As a former neighbor I enjoyed getting to know Phyllis and Gary. I have a memory of riding in her car during rain with no windshield wipers. Apparently it enhanced her vision! My thoughts to her family and especially Kellie and Jimbo.

  7. Patty Heil
    November 23, 2020 6:53 pm

    I met Phyllis in August of 1984 when I started working at CSA. She was definitely the one that knew every aspect of the office. I have many fond memories of my 24 years working with her. Phyllis could keep us laughing through many lunch breaks. May the family find peace and comfort knowing she is at peace.

  8. Kaidence Shoelen - great great granddaughter 💕💕
    November 23, 2020 8:29 pm

    Dear Bimmy, November 20th, 2020 is the day you passed and I wish I could have seen you before you went but God wanted you to go then. I hope you are happy even though I know you are happy. Just so you know when I was playing in my soccer tournament this weekend, I was playing for you, and when I won, I was winning for you.

    I love and miss you and wish you were here in person.

  9. Rebecca Nelson
    November 23, 2020 8:36 pm

    Bimmy, when I first met you in 2016 when Kristopher brought me over & he introduced you to me as Bimmy, you said I could call you Phyllis but I never did. You were always Bimmy to me. I love you so much! I will miss you, Kellie & myself sitting in Kellie’s kitchen at the table listening to your wild stories. You were always so funny! You never liked hugs but I got to sneak a few in over the years. At the end you pointed to Kristopher & told me to take care of him & I promised you I would, you said “I know you will, I’ll come back & haunt you.” I truly believe you will! I promise to take care of your boy for the rest of our lives. I love you & miss you terribly. It’s just not the same without you here.

  10. Glendra Thompson
    November 23, 2020 11:16 pm

    Karrie, Dave and Mia, I am so very sorry to hear this sad news about Phyllis. Thinking about you during this time.

  11. Carol S Hood
    November 24, 2020 10:48 am

    We only had the privilege of knowing Phyllis the past 6 1/2 years, but quickly grew to love her as our neighbor. Her love for Gary, her family, her cats, gardening was huge. Phyllis will be missed greatly. Our heartfelt sympathy to all her family.

  12. wade Conklin
    November 24, 2020 6:12 pm

    Knew Phyllis from the late 50’s. In 2000 I needed a heart operation that the doctors thought too risky. Well Phyllis became my main advocate and 20 years later I’m still singing her praises. Peace and God bless.

  13. Jim and Carole Haley
    November 24, 2020 9:42 pm

    Sending our deepest sympathies to Mac,
    Jennie and family in the loss of Phyllis. Continuing to pray for comfort and peace During this difficult time
    And the days ahead. Love you.

  14. Sandy Pregel Martin
    November 25, 2020 10:50 am

    I worked with Phyllis for over 25 years at Cardiovascular Surgery. She was my Mentor and a mother to me. She taught me a lot about running the office and life. She was there for me everyday and loved me unconditionally. I have lots of wonderful memories with her. I loved looking at all her pictures and listening to her stories. She will be missed. I love you Phyllis. Love Sandy

  15. Mary Hardin
    November 28, 2020 8:50 pm

    So sorry to hear of Phyllis’ passing. . May blessed memories and the celebration of her life always comfort and bring smiles. Think there is a grand reunion going on in heaven. Prayers are with you now and during this holiday season. Love to you all.
    Mary Hardin and family

  16. Kathleen. Wence
    November 29, 2020 9:48 am

    Phyliis was my friend for the past 30 plus years . When I came to work for Cardiovascular Surgery she took me under her wing . She taught me so much about life ,loyalty but most importantly about friendship. She made my job so much easier going to work every day because we had so much fun being together it was never considered work . Our friendship extended beyond the office and we became the best of friends . I will always treasure our great memories. And I am so Blessed to be able to call her my friend . I will miss you Phyllis Lee ! God speed my friend ! I will see you again one day . May you Rest In Peace .
    Love Always

  17. Kathy Grady
    November 29, 2020 8:14 pm

    There are not words to express what Phyllis meant to me. She and I bonded immediately and she guided me through a job that I knew nothing about. She was my Mentor, but more than that, someone that I held dear to my heart. I wish that I could have told her goodbye and what she meant to me. I chose to respect her wishes. I Love you Phyllis!

  18. Barbara Patterson
    November 29, 2020 8:26 pm

    I was hired as an RN First Assistant by CVSA in 1982 & worked for them until 1992. Phyllis was working there when I started & was always a source of information, wisdom & caring. We quickly became friends & that friendship continued beyond our employment at CVSA. Phyllis was an integral part of patient care at CVSA. She took great pride in meeting the needs of our patients. I am so proud to call Phyllis my friend. I will miss her. Love you Phyllis 💗

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