Charles Houston Phillips, Jr.
February 10, 1936 - December 28, 2011
Mr. Charles (charley or Phil) Houston Phillips Jr. completed his journey on earth December 28, 2011 and began his newest journey greeted by his parents, comrades in arms, friends and family members who traveled before.
He began his journey on earth born on a pool table on February 10th 1936 on a cold winters morning. Born to the loving parents of Johnsie Harris Phillips and Charles Houston Phillips Sr. It was the midst of the deepest depression and they lived on the Harris family farm in York SC. His sister Elsie was three years old at the time but remembers the joy of the family fondly.
Later they moved to another Harris farm in Moorseville SC where Charles worked alongside his family and laborers in fields of cotton, beans, and sorghum. This began his lifelong obsession with gardens, which were bigger than that of four families combined, with which he shared the fruits of his harvest openly. Besides working on the family farm, he was most often seen playing ball in the local ball-fields. Once older he played for the VFW league against the Negro Leagues and excelled as an athlete. He tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers alongside members of the Negro League.
Charles was motivated to join the Marines after a brief interview with a judge, which became a turning point in his life. He excelled as a marine and was a member of President Eisenhowers’ Honor Guard. While in Washington he also served on the Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, and achieved a sniper designation in marksmanship. He was then attached to the Navy assigned to Admiral Parker, Admiral Nunn aboard the USS Roanoke.
But Charles became restless and wanted to spend more time with his bride Edna Mae Coan of Monroe, NC. His first son Jeffery Lynn was born in July 1957, so he joined the USAF and joined the all Air Force Rifle Team. He traveled extensively participating in marksman competitions as well as volleyball competitions for the Air Force. He later had two more sons, Terry Dale and Bobby Dean.
During his children’s’ early life’s he would serve two tours of duty in Viet Nam. He was transferred to many different Air Bases though out the South, but all roads eventually led to San Antonio, Texas. Here, he came and remained in the area for the rest of his journey.
When he first arrived in San Antonio, he enrolled his sons in Gateway Little League only to discover that one of his old shooting mates was in the same area. This began his lifelong friendship and love for the Gateway Boozers, a Community Softball team comprised of ex military and service related ballplayers. People often asked why the name of Boozers. Well as Charles would say, “That is who we are, and what we did.” The Boozer parties and softball games are the stories that legends are made of. Charles was known as “Cleanup Phil”, as he could hit softball generally four hundred fifty feet.
He became the host extraordinaire for many of the Boozer reunions, and a mentor to many of the children of the Boozers.
He retired from the USAF and military life in 1974 and began his farming career in the Sod Grass industry. Working for Grimm’s Nurseries on farms in Buena Vista and Big Foot. He gainfully retired in 1989 and settled in Natalia. He became active in the social fabric of the community thru participation with the VFW and the Devine Lions Club. He spent much of the next 13 years performing Eye and Hearing Exams for a generation of students in the Region. Many children remember him as a stern Santa Claus, which scared some children to behave, much to the delight of Principals and Teachers. He performed through out the Christmas season in many venues and locations.
Charles Phillips will always be remembered for his quick salient wit, a friendly smile, his great laugh and love of storytelling and his inability to hold back his opinion. He was a friend to those he loved, a teacher to those who wanted to learn, an asset to the communities where he lived.
He survived by his companion, Ms. Rose Jay; sister, Elsie Mangum, Clarence, Gregory and Karen; his children Jeffery Lynn, Terry Dale, and Bobby Dean, his stepchildren: Rebecca Lynn Gruber, Clayton Gregory and Sheree Gruber, Vicky Jay and Dale Curry, Hugh and Marcy Jay, Thomas and Gayla Jay, Daniel and Cheryl Jay, Deborah Jay and Ray Fargason, Kevin and Tricia Jay, and eighteen step grandchildren and nine step great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held Friday, December 30, 2011 at the Hurley Funeral Home in Devine from 2pm to 9pm. Memorial service will be held at 10am Saturday, December 31, 2011 in the Hurley Funeral Home Chapel in Devine. Services will conclude at the funeral home. Interment services will be held at a later date at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Please send flowers to Hurley Funeral Home at 303 College Ave Devine TX 78016.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Hurley Funeral Home, 303 W. College Ave, Devine, Texas 78016 (830) 663-4445.