Virgin Mary

Phyllis (Cholaj) Rulli

April 17, 1935 ~ January 8, 2021 (age 85)


Phyllis’s funeral will be live-streamed at:



Phyllis (Cholaj) Rulli went to heaven peacefully at her home January 8, 2021. She was 85. The youngest of 13 children, Phyllis was born April 17, 1935, in South Bend to her parents Helen and Alexander Cholaj. She married Antonio Rulli July 31, 1954, at St. Adalbert’s Catholic Church in South Bend. They raised five children together.

She is survived by her husband, Antonio Rulli; her children, Ann Rulli of South Bend, Mike (Liz) Rulli of South Bend, Bob (Kristine Bennett) Rulli of Fort Collins, Colorado, Carrie Rulli of South Bend and Joe (Josie) Rulli of New Palestine, Indiana, along with her 10 grandchildren, who she adored, Sarah and Noah Lynn, Anthony, Lia and Alex Rulli, Roslyn and Luca Rulli, Joe and Elliot Bourdages and Joshua Rulli. She is also survived by her sisters Betty Wallace (Florida) and Veronica Bohacz (Michigan) and dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins.

Phyllis attended South Bend Catholic High School and worked at Ball-Band until she started her family. She was beloved by her neighbors, friends and family. She was a devoted wife of 66 years and a treasured mother and grandmother. As a long-time member of Christ the King Catholic Church, she provided meals for funerals and the resident priests for many years. Phyllis was a master home baker and had dozens of recipes memorized. She was an exceptional seamstress, also memorizing patterns as she made many pieces of clothing for her children (which they actually loved as they grew up). When her children left the family home Phyllis enjoyed the friendships she made with the residents at Holy Cross House as part of the culinary team there for 10 years. She was an avid reader and loved murder, mystery and intrigue stories. She was also a lucky guest at nearly every casino she visited, sometimes having to be escorted to her car with her winnings. Phyllis loved to laugh and had a sarcastic quick wit, which she passed on to all of her children.

She loved collecting angels and was considered one by her grandchildren. There wasn’t a baby she couldn’t calm with her love and care. She learned to drive at age 50 and made many solo trips to visit her children and grandchildren in Michigan and Indiana, and spent many weeks with her new grand babies from Colorado to Michigan to vacations in Florida.

The family would like to thank Heartland Hospice in South Bend for their wonderful care during this last year, especially her nurses Pat, Becky, Ashlynn, Christine, Debbie and Erika, as well as Anna and Amanda. They have all been a blessing to her and Antonio.

A parish rosary will be prayed at 9:45 a.m., Monday, January 11, 2021, at Christ the King Catholic Church, 52473 State Road 933, South Bend, IN, followed by visitation from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the church.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12:00 p.m., Monday, January 11, 2021, at Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend, following the visitation.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Heartland Hospice, 230 W. Catalpa Drive, Suite D, Mishawaka, IN 46545 or the Greater Indiana Alzheimer’s Association at or 8679 Connecticut St. Suite D, Merrillville, IN 46410.

Kaniewski Funeral  Home is in charge of arrangements.






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