Phyllis and her bowling alley, holiday lanes, in Heber Utah

Heber’s “Dr. Phil” Remembered UVU in her Plans

Holiday Lanes is a fixture of Heber, Utah. Still sporting its original 1960s décor, it has served as a movie set for films such as “A Home of Our Own” and “Truth or Consequences, N.M.” And the burgers made from fresh, local beef brought people in just for lunch. The pies that Phyllis Christensen used to bake and cut in quarters made for happy customers as well.

Holiday Lanes was opened by Bill Jordan, who passed it down to his daughter, Phyllis Christensen. She could be seen nearly every day of the week in the bowling alley and worked there until her death May 30, 2018, at the age of 90. But that wasn’t because she couldn’t afford to retire. In fact, the sale of her family’s farmland, which became the site of the Jordanelle Reservoir (Jordan for her birth name and L, her father’s brand) would have sustained her comfortably.

About 15 years ago, Christensen attended a Utah Valley University retirement-planning workshop at the Wasatch Campus. Afterward, she made an appointment to discuss her plans with one of the workshop presenters, financial planner James Cardall.

After talking with Cardall, Christensen decided to establish a charitable remainder trust with UVU. The trust would pay her an income for the rest of her life as well as netting her valuable tax benefits. Whatever was left in the trust at her death — the remainder — would go to UVU.

Christensen’s gift will be used to establish an endowed fund at UVU, meaning it will be invested and only a portion of the income will be spent. According to her wishes, it will fund priorities chosen by UVU’s president. To protect the principal against inflation, part of the income will be reinvested each year.

The charitable remainder trust isn’t Christensen’s only gift to UVU. In 2006 she established an endowed scholarship to help students from Wasatch County attend the University.

In 2009 UVU recognized Christensen with an honorary doctorate degree, alongside Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The degree inspired friends to dub her “Dr. Phil.” When someone informed the real Dr. Phil (television personality Dr. Phillip C. McGraw) of this, he sent her a signed photo of himself, which reportedly delighted Phillis.

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