Nancy Dee Karolus Phillips, 65, of Island Park, Idaho, passed away on August 30, 2017, after battling brain cancer since March 2015.

Nancy was born August 1, 1952, in Elgin, Illinois. Nancy was the oldest of five children and the only girl. She attended Immanuel Lutheran School in Dundee, Illinois, through the eighth grade, when she transferred to Dundee High School. She went on to graduate from Evanston Hospital School of Nursing in 1973. After graduation she went to work as a Coronary Care/ICU nurse at Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois.

While on vacation visiting her brother in Northern California in 1973, she met her husband to be, Barry Phillips. They had known each other only five days when he proposed around the campfire where Nancy was camping. She said yes and six months later they were married in Hebron, Illinois.

They moved to Standish, California where she worked at Lassen Memorial Hospital in Susanville, California. After living there for nine months, her husband got a permanent job with the U.S. Forest Service and they moved to a little logging town called Tennant. They lived there for about seven months when they moved to Dorris, California, where Nancy was again close enough to a hospital to go to work. She went to work at Merle West Medical Center in Klamath Falls, Oregon, as an Emergency Room Nurse. It wasn't long before she was managing the Department.

After about five years, her husband got a transfer and they moved to Woodland Park, Colorado. She was hired at Colorado Springs City Hospital as the Manager of the Emergency Department. This lasted about three years when her husband again got a transfer back to Northern California and they moved to Mt Shasta, California. There were no openings in the ER so she took a job in the Operating Room for a few months. She didn't care for this position as the patients were always unconscious and she couldn't talk with them. She then worked as Quality Control for the hospital for about a year. When there was an opening in the ER and she got it. After a few years she was again Manager of the Department. She did this for about ten years when she was recruited by Norcal EMS in Redding, California. She became the Trauma Coordinator for all the hospitals and ambulance services in the eleven northern counties of California. This position required a lot of traveling and she got tired of being away from home, so much so after five years she resigned and started doing per diem work at a couple of hospitals. By this time her husband had retired and they were traveling for a few months each summer.

In 2002, they traveled through Island Park, Idaho, and liked the area so much that eight weeks later, on their return trip, they stopped again in Island Park and looked at a few homes. They put an offer in on a home and six weeks later had sold their retirement home in California and moved to Island Park, where they have lived year round since. She has been active in the Little Church in the Pines, Fugowee Snowmobile Club, Targhee Women’s Club and the Island Park Red Hat Society.

Nancy has always loved the outdoors. She loved to hike, camp, fish and even took up big game, waterfowl and upland game hunting. She has harvested several elk, deer and antelope and many, many ducks and pheasants. She always enjoyed winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing. After moving to Island Park she took up snowmobiling covering 1000+ miles every winter.

Nancy was unable to have children, so settled on raising several Boykin Spaniels. They were not only great pets and companions, but wonderful hunters. One of her favorite things was watching them hunt upland game with their nose to the ground and that little stub tail wagging like a propeller.

She is survived by her husband Barry Phillips, mother Dolores Karolus, brothers Mark Karolus (Donna), Adam Karolus (Julie), Dale Karolus and several nieces and nephews.

Nancy was preceded in death by her brother Kyle Karolus in 1977, and her father Richard Karolus in 2010.

Her wishes were for cremation with half the ashes to be placed in the Tetons, where she got her first elk, and the other half with her brother & father in Wisconsin.

Memorial gifts may be made to Huntsman Cancer Institute Brain Cancer Unit in her name.

A memorial service will be held at 12 noon, Saturday September 9, 2017, at Little Church in the Pines in Island Park. There will be a graveside service held in Oxford, Wisconsin.

Condolences may be sent to the family online at