Phyllis was born on March 6, 1920, and lived in Oregon and California. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1941 with degrees in history and political science. She was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and attained the rank of lieutenant senior grade before moving to Hastings in 1946.
Phyllis served on the Hastings Board of Education for 12 years and held the position of president. She was also president of the Child Development Council of Adams County, where she was principally responsible for founding Pooh Corner, the city’s first day care center, as well as the Emergency Protective Services Center for women and children at risk.
Phyllis was also active in politics. She was chairwoman of the Adams County Republican Women and vice chairwoman of the Adams County Republican Central Committee. For 14 years, Mrs. Lainson was a member-at-large of the Republican State Executive Committee. She served on the Hastings City Council and was elected Hastings’ first and only female mayor in 1988. Some of the projects initiated while she was Mayor were the rerouting of the Union Pacific away from residential areas and development of land for commercial use North of the Hastings Museum. She held that office until 1992.