Robert R. Phillips
December 19, 2013
Robert R. (Bob) Phillips of Pensacola, FL left this world for a better one on December 19, 2013. When he passed, America lost a true hero and patriot. He leaves America a better place and he leaves us all better people for having been touched by him. We are forever grateful for the blessing of having shared our lives with such a special man.
Robert R. was born December 21st, 1930 in Fort Wayne Indiana to Arthur and Carrie Drewett Phillips. He and his siblings Vern, Art, Charlie, Katherine and Carolyn (all now deceased) as well as a few other relatives including nephew Jack Drewett enjoyed a loving and lively childhood. He would often share stories of riding the ice down the river in the spring, hopping the freight train as it traveled slowly through town, collecting endless piles of coal for heat and practicing football on coalfields. In his teens Robert R. worked at The Memorial Hospital in Fort Wayne and caught the “bug” for medical care that would influence the next chapter in his life.
In 1948, at the age of 17, Robert R. enlisted in the U.S. Army. In an active duty career that spanned 30 years, ending at Fort Rucker, AL in 1979, he established a remarkable record of service. After attending medic school at Fort Sam Houston, TX he was permanently assigned to medic duty. His deployments included one tour in the Korean War, two in the Vietnam Conflict and non-combat duty in Germany. Wounded twice, once each in Vietnam and Korea, he was the recipient of two Purple Hearts. Additionally he was awarded a Silver Service Star, three Combat Medic Badges, and several Bronze Service Stars. The details of how these awards were earned will pass on with him to the ages. What we know for certain is he was proud of his country, his service, his Army, and his units, which included the Big Red One.
While stationed at Fort Lee. VA Robert R. met Ms. Dorothy Wheeler, also an active duty WAC soldier. She would become Mrs. Phillips in 1965 and in 1966 their only child, Robert Maurice Phillips, was born. Over the next few years the family moved often due to service but following his military retirement they settled in the Brownsville area of Pensacola in 1976. In the next chapter of his life Robert R. worked civil service at NAS Pensacola from 1980 to 1997 earning awards for his continued effort and service excellence.
Throughout all the years Robert R. was our family’s chef, “doctor”, shelter in need and ever his own man. He loved Friday afternoons at McGuire’s Pub, watching sports, reading the newspaper front to back and hosting the family on holidays. He and his wife always had a warm meal and bed for a needy soul and never asked for more in return than a simple “thanks”.
He is survived in Pensacola by his wife of 48 years, Dorothy Wheeler Phillips; his son, Robert Phillips, daughter-in-law Michelle Phillips, granddaughters Emily and Brooke; his sister-in-law Pearl Wheeler: and brothers-in-law Rayford Wheeler of Dothan, AL, Richard Wheeler of Gantt, AL, Edmond Wheeler of Pace, FL.; his beloved Nephew Jack Drewett of Fort Worth, TX and two generations of nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws to whom he extended endless support and love.
Memorial services will be held in January along with funeral services at Fort Barrancas. In lieu of flowers please contribute to a veteran’s charity of your choice.
We will miss you our dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. And for the final time we say, “To bed to bed” said sleepyhead, “let’s wait a while” said slow. “Let’s put on the pot” said greedy gut and “stuff before we go!” Here is to a life well stuffed.