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James Holden Phillips Jr.


Dec. 16, 1926 - June 23, 2018

James "Jim" Holden Phillips Jr., 91, a remarkable man, found his peace in God and entered heaven June 23, 2018 from his Bandon home.

Jim was born Dec. 16, 1926, to First Lieutenant James H. Phillips and Mary Ethel at the home of his maternal grandmother in Colorado Springs, Colo. A few weeks after his birth, the family returned to his father’s duty station, Fort Riley in Kansas. Jim’s childhood was spent with his family, as they moved to various U.S. Army assignments, Fort Holabird, Maryland; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; and finally, just before the outbreak of World War II, Washington, D.C. During these years, many summers were spent at Erie Ordnance Depot, Ohio, where his father participated in the National Rifle and Pistol Matches with the U.S. Cavalry Team at adjacent Camp Perry. It was during these summers that Jim developed his love of shooting.

He was appointed to West Point from Colorado, joining the Corps of Cadets in July 1946. He graduated in 1951, being commissioned in armor. His assignments during his career took him to Fort Hood, Texas, three times; Korea, where he was wounded; Japan; Fort Knox, Ky. three times; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Washington, D.C.; Vietnam twice; and Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He retired as a colonel after 30 years of service and was immediately recalled to active duty as the Commander, USAEPG, for another 21 months. Among his military decorations are the Combat Infantry Badge, the Purple Heart and four awards of the Legion of Merit.

Jim was a past president of the Sierra Vista, Ariz., Cortez, Colo., and Dolores, Colo., Rotary Clubs. He was an active volunteer in the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program representing dependent children in the states of Arizona and Colorado Superior Courts. He also was a trained volunteer mediator/arbitrator in the Cochise County Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. In his later years, he volunteered much of his time with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations, as his was a lifetime of service to others.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Laverne Keen, the mother of his children; and his wife, Dolores Grabinski, with whom he shared his later years traveling and enjoying retirement.

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He is survived by his children, Eric and Valerie, Mark and Alexandra, Cynthia and Paul Hay, Karen and Michael Harris, Heather and James Davis, and Alicia Phillips; as well as his 10 grandchildren, 5 stepgrandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

A full service with military honors will occur at the old Post Cemetery on Ft. Huachuca, Arizona at a future date to be determined. There also will be a memorial service held later for his friends in Cortez/Dolores, Colorado as well. However, a celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m., July 14,  at his home church, The First Presbyterian Church of Bandon. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please donate to the Educational Gift Fund at the First Presbyterian Church of Bandon in Jim’s name.

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