Cover photo for Phyllis Ann Eichenberger Robinson's Obituary
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In Memory Of
Phyllis Ann Eichenberger Robinson
1941 2024

Phyllis Ann Eichenberger Robinson

January 1, 1941 — March 30, 2024

Born on January 1, 1941, Phyllis Ann (née Eberle) Eichenberger Robinson was destined for greatness. She set a record when she came into this world, and continued making positive impacts in many lives ever since. The record, you ask? Phyllis was the first baby born in Floyd County in 1941, and she loved to tell people all about it. Back then, when life was simpler, society celebrated such babies and bestowed on the baby (more properly, on the parents) many valuable gifts. So, Phyllis was special right from the start. As the following account is intended to convey, she lived a very happy life, filled to the brim with the things she treasured the most: faith, family, friendship, and laughter.

Phyllis had a way of making an impression on people. She didn't try to; it was not a conscious decision. She just had an innate way about her that somehow resonated with all who met her. Her way was, well, her way. It was not borne of any pretense, but rather of her innocently simple outlook on life and on people. You didn't "sort of" know Phyllis. If she was in your circle (of friends, family, or business or social acquaintances), you knew it. You couldn't not know it. She had opinions on how things were supposed to be, and she was not afraid to share those with you. She didn't share those with the intention of insulting, but rather for the sole purpose of matter-of-factly informing. In a world where many people do not speak their minds, Phyllis, refreshingly (most of the time), was the polar opposite. Everyone knew where they stood with her. Did you get a new haircut? She thinks it looked better before. Grow a beard? That just makes you look old. Did you just give a speech? Yeah, that wasn't your best performance. But don't despair-Phyllis was an equal-opportunity dispenser of opinions. When you did well, she told you that, too. If she liked your speech, or your beard, or your new haircut, she enthusiastically told you that as well. And it was this honesty-born-of-innocence that made people-not just her children-want to do their best around her. She forced you to be on your toes, and that often resulted in your improvement, whether or not you admitted it.

Phyllis was the fourth of five children born to the late Leo Emile and Mary Elizabeth (née Zimmerman) Eberle. She was proud to be a good student, both in grade school and in high school, excelling in many subjects, but especially in grammar and spelling. In fact, if any of her children today are not good spellers or don't understand subject-verb agreement, it is certainly not for lack of effort on Phyllis' part. She graduated from New Albany High School in 1959, along with her high school sweetheart, Jack R. H. Eichenberger, who became her loving husband and the father of her seven children (one of whom died in infancy).

Phyllis and Jack were married in 1961 at St. Mary of the Annunciation in New Albany, and they had a truly storybook marriage, where faith, family, and friendship reigned supreme. Phyllis and Jack started having children in 1962 and didn't stop until 1983. Technically speaking, there were a few breaks in that timeframe, but the 21-year span is still impressive by any metric. Phyllis and Jack were extremely proud of all six of their grown children: Lt. Colonel (USAF Ret.) William Eichenberger (Valerie) of Monticello, Indiana; Dr. Daniel Eichenberger (Stephanie) of New Albany; Mary Miles, LPN (Stephen) of San Antonio, Florida; Robert Eichenberger, Esq. (Cindy) of Lanesville; Kenneth Eichenberger EET (Deanne) of Floyds Knobs; and Dr. Carrie Spencer, DVM (Ben) of Lanesville. And Phyllis was also immensely proud of all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. She exemplified to them the value of always doing your chores, practicing, studying, and working.

With the sole exception of devoting time to her favorite daytime soap operas (read: "Don't interrupt my soaps!"), Phyllis was never one to remain idle. Boredom and non-productivity were not concepts she entertained-a trait she lovingly passed to her children (and they thankfully received). While in high school she worked as a salesperson for The Fashion Shop in New Albany from 1955-1959. After high school, she was a billing clerk and addressograph operator (Google it-it's pretty interesting) for Southern Bell Telephone Company from 1960-1964. Then, in 1965, having three children of her own under the age of three, she began to fulfill her lifelong calling of helping raise other people's children by starting to babysit in her home. This led, eventually, to her starting her own business, Ike's Tykes, Inc. From 1965 to 2001, she helped raise upwards of 100 children, all of whom she loved dearly and referred to as her "Ike's Tykes."

She did not simply stay at home with her Ike's Tykes. No, that would have meant they somehow limited her abilities to do things and be productive. On the contrary, she took them everywhere she went: to church, K-mart, the city-county building, the bank, the grocery store, the park, wherever she needed to go. So many people remember Phyllis attending Mass with up to 20 children in tow, each of them sitting in a long pew very reverently and attentively under her watchful eye. And, oh what a watchful eye it was in church! Over the years, she kept tabs on as many of her Ike's Tykes as she could, and many loved "Grandma Ike" so much that, decades later, they invited Phyllis to their weddings and shared photos of their babies and their life events. Phyllis was very proud of this and was always eager to accept such invitations.

Phyllis was a devout Roman Catholic and proud member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish for over 40 years and of Holy Family Catholic Church for over 10 years. During that time, she was a faithful servant of the Lord and of those parishes in many capacities, both at the churches and their schools. She was a Girl Scout leader and a Boy Scout den mother, making lasting impressions on many children and their parents. She was also the President of the Madonna Circle and a devoted member of the Cursillo Movement. She dutifully sang in the choir at Our Lady, and she loved serving as a musical cantor at masses and singing as a soloist for many weddings and funerals. In fact, Phyllis was usually the loudest singer in church . . . whether or not she was a cantor! Music was always a passion for her, and she enjoyed being a member of the Musical Crossroads Players as well as the Bell Singers.

Phyllis also thoroughly enjoyed many decades of activities with her family and friends. In the early days, she and Jack made many friends and enjoyed square dancing whenever possible. She derived such joy from her many bunco and card clubs over the years. She remained close to all her Class of 1959 friends, and looked forward to every meeting of the committee. Phyllis taught her children how to "rough it" while camping. She loved being on the lake with her children, grandchildren, and other family and friends, boating, skiing, tubing, and just watching. Many an onlooker was impressed to see Phyllis, well into her 70's, flying by on an inner tube at breakneck speeds. She enjoyed being dragged behind the boat on a tube, either by herself, or with one of her grandchildren. She delighted in theater and musical events her entire life, and lately received much enjoyment with her friends and family from her season tickets at the Derby Dinner Playhouse.

After Jack's passing in 1995, Phyllis found herself a widow, raising her youngest two children alone. She did this honorably and, as fate would have it, and perhaps as a reward for being such a good person, in 2001 she was blessed to have a second wonderful man sweep her off her feet when she married James W. ("JB") Robinson. With this marriage, Phyllis was happy to grow her family again, with JB's children: the late James E. Robinson (Terrie) of Elizabeth, Indiana; Kathleen Burrows of English, Indiana; and Elizabeth (Beth) Trueblood (Tod) of Columbia Falls, Montana; and all their wonderful children and grandchildren. Phyllis and JB immensely enjoyed each other's company, and each was exactly what the other needed. They belonged to and had many friends at Concordia Lutheran Church in Louisville. They enjoyed their life together and shared many good times, much travel, thousands of canasta games with friends and family, and possibly a million laughs (we don't have an official count), until JB's untimely passing in 2013.

Both with JB and after his passing, Phyllis involved herself in many additional activities, both philanthropic and civic. She and JB won the 2014 Ivy Tech Legacy Award for Community Service and Philanthropy. She served on many boards, including Bridgepointe, Carnegie Center, and the IUS Board of Advisors. She also happily continued to foster JB's special relationship with Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana. In all of these activities, Phyllis made lasting and memorable impressions on many people, gaining lots of new friends in the process.

In her 83 years on this planet, Phyllis was known by many titles: adoring daughter, stellar student, valued employee, devoted wife, Mrs. Ike, Aunt Phyl, Grandma Ike, loyal friend, friendly neighbor, den mother, selfless volunteer, and even "that lady who doesn't let kids suck their thumbs or chew gum in church." But the most special titles of all, and the ones that meant the most to her, were loving wife, mother, and grandmother.

Nothing was quite as special to Phyllis as her children and grandchildren. She loved attending and being a part of their lives in every way possible. She thoroughly enjoyed all their school events, scout events, dance recitals, music recitals, spelling bees, graduations, proms, weddings, showers, concerts, theater performances, and, overall any happenings in their lives. She also enjoyed all their numerous sports activities over the years, which included t-ball; baseball; basketball; swimming; softball; volleyball; and, although she didn't fully understand the game, soccer. She also loved singing, dancing, and shooting Fireball at performances of her favorite band, 100% Poly (she bore a striking resemblance to the keyboard player).

Although all those she left behind are extremely sad, we find solace knowing she left this earth surrounded by the faith, family, and friends she adored. She is survived by her 6 children, 31 grandchildren, over 30 great grandchildren; all her dear nieces and nephews; and her beloved in-laws, Jerry and Pat Blackman of Georgetown, Indiana, and their wonderful family. We take comfort in knowing she now rejoices in Heaven with so many of her dearly-loved family members who preceded her in death, including her parents; her brothers Lt. Colonel Harold Eberle (Mary Hochmeister); Brig. General Milton Eberle (Sarah Jane Ramsey); Dr. David Eberle (Jane Longest); her sister Jeannette Watson (Raymond); her daughter Amy Lee Eichenberger; her husband Jack R. H. Eichenberger; her husband James W. Robinson; and her stepson James E. Robinson.

Visitation will be held at Newcomer Funeral Services, 3309 Ballard Lane, New Albany on Thursday, April 4, from 2-8 p.m. and on Friday, April 5, from 2-8 p.m. Phyllis' funeral Mass will take place on Saturday, April 6, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 129 West Daisy Lane, New Albany, with special prelude music to begin at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in New Albany. Expressions of sympathy can be made in her name in the form of donations to Holy Family Catholic Church or Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

Food donations may be coordinated with Deanne Eichenberger at (502) 509-7080.

Thursday & Friday, April 4 & 5, 2024 from 2:00pm to 8:00pm

Casket reception and special prelude music begins at 10:00am
Funeral Mass begins at 10:30am
Burial will follow at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in New Albany
Community luncheon hosted by Holy Family Catholic Church will follow cemetery at Holy Family cafeteria.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, April 4, 2024

2:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions

3309 Ballard Lane, New Albany, IN 47150

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

Additional visitation

Friday, April 5, 2024

2:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions

3309 Ballard Lane, New Albany, IN 47150

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

Service

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

West Daisy Lane

, New Albany, IN 47150

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

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