Lois Aletha Phebus | Obituary
With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to Lee “ALETHA” Phebus, who left this world on March 16, 2022. Lee lived with a tenacious spirit and was everyone’s friend. A generational influence of vaudevillian artists, artisans and builders shaped Lee’s character and approach to life. We love her because she lived this creative personality with pride – and never with regret.
Born August 30, 1947, Lois Aletha Garrett was a fourth-generation Washingtonian who grew up as a minor singing star on Irving Street. She was encouraged to share her singing talents from an early age by her mother, Washington, DC, big band singer Ruth Youngs Garrett. Lee also impressed locals, as Ruth hosts the USO stage, as a girl with a woman’s voice, until her parents move to a small country house near Sugarloaf Mountain. in Clarksburg, Maryland. Known as Aletha in high school, she learned to play guitar and piano while continuing to sing throughout her youth, winning Glee Club awards and organizing friends into unbeatable harmonies for the Follies. . But was that enough for this Renaissance soul? Of course not! Lee was an always curious teenager and she followed her father while he worked in his store at home. Her father was race car driver and expert machinist John “Reds” Garrett, who championed his desire to be the first young woman allowed to take industrial arts classes at Gaithersburg High School, graduating in 1965.
Lee is best known for the service and friendship she shared through her woodworking business, ALETHA. She has had a passion for antique restoration and a patience for traditional carpentry throughout her life, starting in high school shop classes. “Yeah, I’m a girl, so what!…”, she told her granddaughters what she told those jealous friends. Lee revived the term woodwright and honored the meaning fondly, though clients may remember her best as the modern day Maye West. She was so quick-witted with lines or a joke just to see you laugh…or moan! Lee had built his identity on woodworking, singing and making music, and making others laugh as much as possible.
His unconditional love continues in the hearts of his brothers and sisters. Lee’s brother, prankster and junior champion booger-flicker John “Buddy” Garrett, will remember those handmade chocolate-covered treats that Lee faithfully delivered for his birthday each year. His sister and lifelong best friend, Fritzi Garrett Moyars, is still Lee’s biggest fan. For decades, the sisters have played generational favorites – from the Andrew Sisters to Tina Turner – with their mother, Ruth, as Peach Tree-o most of the time (and also by special request as Raggity Ann All-Clown Band, eccentric but adorable). ), their angelic harmonies will always be remembered for the joy they brought us.
Our memories of Lee turn to his surviving family. Her husband, Bob Phebus, is a man of few words and a subtle sense of humor that perfectly balances Lee’s personality. While Lee easily offered so many great stories to the rest of us, they shared an enduring story of their own. They met as teenagers, young and free, riding together in his Tempest convertible. Lee kept vigil while serving in Vietnam. Bob often worked double time at the Defense Mapping Agency to support himself and their children. Retired and now a pecan farmer, Bob will return to Georgia for planting and harvesting seasons, to share memories with his family who he will also miss there.
Lee is survived by three children who carry on the rich family history of artists, artists and artisans. Jon Phebus is a lifelong yoga teacher, healing arts practitioner and musician. Kelly Phebus is a visual artist, fine arts professional and educator. Rob Phebus is an eclectic craftsman and expert carpenter who stoically stood by his side to make his end of life the best it could be. Lee was also devoted to her three grandchildren, which is evident in their interests. College-bound and otherwise thriving, Lila, Emmalee and Garrett have a bright future of choice ahead of them – starting life fully supported by their ‘Lulu’ for their singing/songwriting, fiber crafting and mechanical skills. automobile, respectively.
Lee’s creative character touched the hearts of everyone she met, young and old. She will be missed by all who knew her. The family will host a celebration of life in Lee’s honor (details to follow).