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Alumni News: Class Years 1940-1949

LaVonne(Vonn) Phillips Gall

Wednesday, June 1, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joann Rosenbaum
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LaVonne "Von" (Phillips) Gall, of Sioux City passed away Thursday, May 19, 2011, at her home.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, with the Rev. Merlin J. Schrad officiating. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery in Remsen, Iowa. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. today, with a prayer service at 7 p.m., at Fisch Funeral Home and Monument in Remsen. Visitation will resume one hour prior to the services Wednesday at the church. Condolences may be posted online at

LaVonne was born in Remsen, the daughter of Fred T. and Catherine (Schaaf) Phillips. She was raised and educated in the Remsen area. After her graduation from high school she attended an all-girls boarding school and College of Ward-Belmont in Nashville, Tenn., where she earned her diploma in dance. She then taught adult education at Central High School in Sioux City.

During her dance career, the choreographer for Fred Astaire saw her perform and came backstage to ask where she learned the routine she had performed. As LaVonne said, "He said he had just finished teaching 'Fred' the same. Then he said, 'Oh I'm Fred Astaire's choreographer, Hermes Pan. If you come to California in the not-too-distant future, I would like you to try out with Fred and see if you are compatible.' He gave me his one and only way to contact him -- a card with a very private phone number. When I showed my sister the card with his intentions, my sister grabbed the card and tore it into little pieces. My sister didn't want people to know 'how old' she was. She kept me in young girlish clothes and always called me her little sister. I was already out of college! So with all my years of studying dance I never was able to accept the invite."

Von met Arthur Gall in Miami, Fla., where he was in the U.S. Coast Guard. On June 23, 1945, she married Art. The couple made their home in Sioux City. Upon this union they had two children. Art died Aug. 26, 2000.

Von was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and the Sioux City Art Center. She worked with the Girl Scout Troops of Woodbury County. She also served on the Youth Symphony Board and past membership Guild. Von was an avid golfer and was voted the most improved female golfer in the late 1980s.

Survivors include her daughter, Deborah "Debbie" Phillips; her son, A. Philip "Biff" Gall; a granddaughter, Lisa Phillips and her husband, Michael Smego; a great-granddaughter, Breanne Kathryne Phillips-Smego; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and all her siblings.

Memorials may be directed to the LaVonne P. Gall Civic Ballet Fund.

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