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Phyllis  C.  Beinhorn

Obituary for Phyllis C. Beinhorn

December 24, 1920 - May 14, 2017
San Antonio, Texas | Age 96


Phyllis C. Beinhorn, of San Antonio, died on Sunday, May 14, 2017. She was 96 years old.

Born on December 24, 1920, Phyllis Crittenden Carr was the daughter of Patricia Carnal and Henry Carr. A lifelong resident of San Antonio, she attended River Road Country Day School and Saint Mary's Hall where she won the History Award and numerous equestrian trophies. After two years at Sweet Briar College, she graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in English.

Early in World War II, she met her husband, William Alvin Beinhorn of Houston, when he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston. She traveled with him to the University of Michigan where, as an Army intelligence officer, he studied Japanese. After he was posted to the Alaskan Command, she returned to San Antonio where she worked in the Office of Censorship.

Over the years, she was an active member and officer of civic and cultural organizations, including The San Antonio Botanical Garden, San Antonio Conservation Society, Planned Parenthood, Our Reading Club, The History Club, Battle of Flowers Association and El Patronato.

Fluent in Spanish she spent many summers traveling with her family through Mexico and Guatemala where she developed a love for Latin American folk art and antiquities. Most road trips culminated in a long drive home, the family's Ford station wagon stuffed with huge pots, bolts of homespun fabric and other market treasures.

Later in life she traveled farther afield—to Machu Picchu in Peru, to Ephesus on the Turkish coast, to Borobudur on the island of Java, as well as to Uzbekistan, Greece, Morocco, Italy and Ecuador. She studied English literature at Cambridge University, bargained for Berber carpets in Fez, and took a boat trip up the River Kwai in Thailand. She and her husband traveled several times to visit their son and his family at their foreign postings in London and Singapore, which included trips to Vietnam before it was opened to Americans in the early 1990's, and to Brunei to attend the Sultan's polo matches.

A passionate gardener, she once instructed her daughter to list "horticulturist" as "mother's occupation" on a college application. She regularly brought seeds and plant cuttings back from her travels, cultivating them in a greenhouse filled with bromeliads, frangipani trees and papayas. In summer she also grew tomatoes, figs and an abundance of eggplant in her extensive garden.

For over 60 years, she and her husband lived in a mid-century modern home on San Antonio's north side. Designed by O'Neil Ford, it was a prime example of the acclaimed architect's residential design skills. With glass walls, terraced garden beds and intimate patios, it was open to the outdoors yet remained resolutely private. The house was notable for the handiwork of craftsman Lynn Ford, brother of O'Neil Ford, and other local artists.

As much as she enjoyed traveling, she especially loved spending time at the family's South Texas ranch, where she appreciated the wild, remoteness of the brush country as it was. It was there that she again expressed her sensibility of Mexican interiors in building the "big house," in which the floors, ceilings, doors, windows and fireplaces were so painstakingly hand-crafted that a friend later installed a wrought-iron epitaph on the house, which reads "Para Ti Sufri."

Phyllis Beinhorn was preceded in death by her sister, Gene Carr, and her husband, William Alvin Beinhorn. She is survived by her daughter, Courtenay Dunk and her husband Bill of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and her son, Alston Beinhorn and his wife Holly of San Antonio, and four grandchildren: Alexandra and Angus Dunk, and Summer and Camille Beinhorn. The family would like specially to note the friendship and devotion of Ms. Aurora Rodriquez for over 50 years, and express their thanks for the loving care of Mrs. Elida Casias, Ms. Sylvia Garcia, Ms. Diana Peche, and Ms. Sally Renteria.

A memorial service will be held at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, 315 E. Pecan, on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 4 PM.

Memorial contributions may be sent to The San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, TX 78209.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Memorial contributions may be sent to The San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, TX 78209.

Arrangements By

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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